LSU men’s basketball host Arkansas Saturday morning

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The LSU men’s basketball team looks to take advantage of a Saturday morning at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center when it hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks in a game that tips off just after 11 a.m.

The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with the voice of the Tigers Chris Blair and former LSU basketball head coach John Brady (Guaranty Media network flagship Eagle 98.1 FM). The game will be televised on ESPN2 with John Schriffen and Daymeon Fishback on the broadcast.

Tickets for the game are available online at LSUTix.net and at the upper concourse ticket windows beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Maravich Center.

LSU students are admitted free with valid student ID and the first 500 students for the game will receive a free Whataburger honey butter chicken biscuit.

The Tigers are 11-9 and 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference entering the contest, while Arkansas is 11-10 and 2-6 in the league.

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LSU has come off two one-possession game losses against Texas A&M (73-69) and at Georgia (68-66) before losing at Alabama (109-88) in which the Tigers scored their second highest points total in an SEC game this season.

Arkansas is finding their stride in the last two games, including scoring 56 points in the paint and only taking six three-pointers in a 91-84 win at Missouri on Wednesday night.

Tramon Mark had 22 points to lead the Razorbacks with Makhi Mitchell getting 19 points and 14 rebounds. Keyon Menifield Jr. had 16 points and Jalen Graham had 13 points as Arkansas shot 54.1% from the field (33-of-61).

The Tigers have come off a different kind of week with no mid-week contest in preparation for this game as teams will have one open date during their SEC schedule.

“It’s been unique this week with the bye, I think it’s been productive for us as a team,” said LSU coach Matt McMahon. “Really looking forward to this great opportunity here on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. against Arkansas. I think you really have to re-evaluate how you scout their team and just focus on the last 80 minutes that they have played. I thought they were terrific defensively against Kentucky on Saturday and then (Wednesday), really played a complete game on the road at Missouri. Again, I thought defensively fantastic and then offensively they really scored the ball at a high clip, absolutely dominated the game and scored 56 points in the paint. They’ve been really good getting to the free throw line all season long, so it’s a great challenge but also a great opportunity for us on Saturday morning.”

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Jordan Wright continues to lead the Tigers averaging 15.7 points per game, with a 17-game double figure scoring streak. Jalen Cook is at 15.1 points and Will Baker stands at 11.1 points a game. Both Wright and Baker have averaged 5.2 rebounds a game.

LSU has posted double figure three-pointers in the last four games, the first time in school history that the Tigers have accomplished that. In the last five games, LSU is 51-of-129 from the arc or 39.5%, compared to 45-of-133 for opponents (33.8%). Where LSU struggled last week was inside the arc and at the rim, shooting below many of their numbers this season.

In discussing what the Tigers could work on to improve this week, Coach McMahon said: “I think you are always trying to be very intentional in how you’re improving your team, how you’re building your team. We talked about those areas starting Dec. 16 when we got Jalen Cook eligible and our team started to evolve. I think this week was no different, trying to identify areas where we can get better in practice and really simplify it. To me, on the offensive side, it’s eliminating the unforced turnovers and the poor shot selection early in possessions.

“You look in the last 12 seconds of our possessions against Alabama, we averaged 1.35 points per possession, which is really elite from an execution standpoint,” said McMahon. “But in the first seven seconds of the possession, we were very poor, because we forced some things and took bad shots. That fueled the second thing I would cover, our transition defense. This league is just so athletic and so talented, if you let teams get an advantage in the open floor, you’re in big trouble.

“Then, I think the third thing, we are sending our opponents to the free-throw line way too much,” said McMahon. “Arkansas is top-five in the country at getting to the free-throw line, so fouls are going to be part of the game. We want to be physical; we want to be aggressive, but we’ve had some undisciplined fouls that really start to take their toll. So, we need to keep opponents off the line and do a better job there.”

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Following Saturday’s game, the Tigers go on the road to Knoxville to take on Tennessee on Wednesday.

(Press release provided by LSU Athletics)

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