More intensity needed

LSU got off on the right foot in some regards with a season opening victory over Jackson State on Saturday. The end result was what Trent Johnson was looking for, but the way they got there was a different story.

The first-year headman put his squad through a “very competitive and intense practice” on Monday with the hopes of correcting one of the issues from Saturday’s 79-65 win.


“I was disappointed and they probably were more so than I with our lack of intensity,” Johnson said.


“You would probably expect it at this time of the year, but expectations, I don’t really dwell on them in terms of expectations, as long as we play the game the right way,” added Johnson.


Jackson State outrebounded LSU 19-16 in the first half and getting beat on the boards is something that does not sit well with Johnson.


After reviewing the film he felt that his team put forth the effort, but the intensity on the glass wasn’t what it could have been.


“We had some breakdowns, but it wasn’t as much effort as it was intensity,” said Johnson. “That’s a fine line to the untrained eye … Take Tasmin [Mitchell] for example. He’s as intense and as much of a warrior as we have on this team, but he just broke down.


“Like I said earlier and please don’t take this the wrong way, but if it was a lack of effort then he wouldn’t have been out there,” added Johnson.


One of the bright spots for the Tigers on Saturday was the play of point guard Bo Spencer. He led the team with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field and knocked down 3-of-5 from behind the arc.


The one stat that Johnson was not happy with though was some of Spencer’s decisions as he committed three turnovers and did not log any assists.


Another bright spot for the Tigers was the play of true freshman Strom Warren, who scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench.


“He’s relentless,” Johnson said. “He’s one guy that for a freshman he plays extremely hard and with a level of intensity that is appreciated … I really like him and I think he’s done a real good job for us so far.”  


Some were concerned that Garrett Temple was held scoreless and didn’t even attempt a shot in his new position. Temple is playing the three this year after playing point the majority of his first three years at LSU, but Johnson isn’t too concerned with his lack of offense on Saturday.


“Everything’s new,” said Johnson. “It’s a new position, the ball’s not in his hands as much. I’m not worried about that.”


LSU will be back in action on Thursday against Alcorn State, but for now Johnson says the goal is simple if his team wants to play well against the Braves.


“Today was good. Tomorrow we have to be better,” said Johnson. “Wednesday we have to be better and Thursday hopefully there will be some carryover because I do know that this basketball team will play like they practice. Hopefully they understand that now.”

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