LSU-Alcorn State pre-game notes

The Tiger basketball team will be back in action Thursday night, opening up play in the LSU Invitational against Alcorn State. The tournament features a two-weekend, five-team, four game round-robin format, with all games played at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers are set as the second game of the day, following the Centenary vs. Troy tip at 4:30 p.m.

LSU (1-0), who topped Jackson State 79-65 on Saturday, looks to continue its winning ways against the Braves (0-2).

LSU leads the series 2-0, the last win coming by way of a 71-64 victory over the Braves in Baton Rouge on Dec. 11, 1999.

The Tigers will be trying to win their first two games for the 12th straight season.

LSU last split the first two games in 1996-97 when they won the opener against Troy and then lost to Kansas in the first game of the Maui Invitational.

Both teams enter the season with new coaching staffs, the Tigers hiring ex-Stanford head coach Trent Johnson, while Alcorn State took on former-Brave standout Larry Smith.

The Tigers held their only opponent to 65 points while scoring 79 points of their own in the season opener.

Sophomore point guard Bo Spencer led the way for LSU against Jackson State, netting 21 points in 34 minutes of play.

Spencer finished 7-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. The Baton Rouge-native averaged 3.4 points and 15.8 minutes per game during his freshman campaign last season.

After sitting out the 2007 season due to injury, junior forward Tasmin Mitchell returned to the lineup in a big way on Saturday.

In 25 minutes of play, Mitchell was 7-of-10 from the field for 17 points. The Denham Springs-native also pulled down six rebounds on the night.

Senior center Chris Johnson scored 17 points and pulled in a team high seven rebounds against Jackson State.

Last season, Johnson averaged 11.6 points per game, 6.6 rebounds and had 66 blocks, the seventh highest single season total in school history. The Montross, Va.-native’s 81 career blocks sit one shy of moving into the school's top 10 list.

The Braves are holding opponents to an average of 98.5 points per game, while scoring an average of 68 points per game.

For Alcorn State, hopes for success rely heavily on the performance of junior guard Troy Jackson.

Last season, Jackson averaged 17.5 points and six assists per game.

Sitting out his true sophomore season, Jackson bounced back last season as one of the Braves most explosive players. In ASU's opener, the Philadelphia-native reeled off 24 points and seven assists after playing in all 40 minutes of the game.

Senior leadership for the Braves should come by way of forward Jarvis Williams.

Williams, who averaged 7.2 points per game last season, has already pushed his season average this year to 15 points per game.

Fellow senior Anthony Ford has seen a slow start, scoring just three points in 29 minutes against Houston.  Last season, the Calhoun-native averaged 11.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.

The tip is set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at the Maravich Assembly Center.

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