Tigers change plans, opponent; head to Ole Miss

Geaux Nation

FILE PHOTO – JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – MARCH 23: Javonte Smart #1 of the LSU Tigers reacts as they take on the Maryland Terrapins during the second half of the game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Vystar Memorial Arena on March 23, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE – The LSU men’s basketball team is still traveling for a game on Saturday but the original destination and the actual stopping point are a bit different. 

LSU was supposed to play Missouri on Saturday night but as announced by the Southeastern Conference office at 1 p.m. Friday, “the LSU at Missouri men’s basketball game of January 9 has been postponed due to a combination of positive tests, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the Missouri basketball program, consistent with Southeastern Conference COVID-19 management requirements. A make-up date has not been determined at this time.
 
“With the South Carolina at Ole Miss game scheduled for Jan. 9 also postponed, the LSU at Ole Miss game originally scheduled for Feb. 17 will now be played at 7:30 pm CET on Jan. 9 and will be available on SEC Network.”

So instead of Columbia, Missouri, the Tigers will head to Oxford, Mississippi for a game with the Rebels. Ole Miss is 6-3 and 1-1 in the Southeastern Conference while LSU is 7-2 and 2-1 after a thrilling 94-92 come-from-behind victory by the Tigers. 

The LSU-Ole Miss game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network with Chris Blair and former LSU Coach John Brady on the call from the LSU Athletic remote studios. 

Ole Miss is coming off a 72-61 home win over Auburn on Wednesday night. The Rebels are coached by former LSU assistant Kermit Davis, Jr.

The Tigers rallied from 10 down in the final nine minutes to force the overtime as Javonte Smart his two consecutive three-point baskets in the final two minutes to tie the game. 

LSU was led by Cameron Thomas with 26 points after going 15-of-16 at the line. His first 14 makes before a miss in the game gave him a school record 42 consecutive free throws made topping the old mark of 35 by Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf in the 1989-90 season. Smart had 21 points in the game. Trendon Watford added 17 and Darius Day posted his third double double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds. 

The Tigers had 19 steals in the game with Smart getting six and Josh LeBlanc Sr., grabbing five. 

LSU will return home for what is scheduled to be three consecutive home games – Wednesday night against Arkansas (6 p.m.); Saturday, Dec. 16 against South Carolina (7:30 p.m.) and Dec. 19 versus Alabama (8 p.m.). Please note: the game times have switched on the Arkansas and Alabama games from when they were originally announced. 

January 8, 2021
LSU Head Coach Will Wade– Pregame v. Ole Miss Quotes
Opening Statement…
“We’re moving on the fly here pretty quick. We had to get in there and start some film on Ole Miss and get going. So, we had to quickly pivot, but it’s been an interesting few hours. That’s the way it goes. We’re excited to play, our guys are excited to play. We’ve said the whole time, whatever we’ve got to do to make it happen. This is just one of those things and we’ll be ready tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. in Oxford, as ready as we can be. My staff has done a phenomenal job of rallying and getting everything together for Ole Miss. Nelson Hernandez and Matt LaBorade have done a great job with the travel and the logistics; I don’t want to get into that sort of thing. You have to fly a small plane if you go into Oxford, and we have the big plane rented because we were going to Columbia, Missouri, so you can’t fly that into Oxford. It moves 100 different things around. It’s been something else, but we practiced early so we could give ourselves enough time. We’re going to leave here at 5 o’clock so we can fly to Tupelo, and then bus from Tupelo down to Oxford. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.” 
On Charles Manning entering the transfer portal…

“Confirmed… He gets the whole year back because of COVID. At the end of the day, he wanted to play more. There’s no doubt about that. But our semester starts on Monday and he was going to end up transferring anyways. At some point, he needed to go somewhere where he could work out with their team so he can put himself in the best position to have a good season, next season. That’s what’s best for Charles [Manning] and so that’s what he’s going to do.”

On scouting Ole Miss…

“They’re physical, they play extremely hard. [Luis] Rodriguez at the three is tremendous. [Devontae] Schuler hasn’t played as well in SEC play, but he’s Preseason Second Team All-SEC. Romello White been great for them down low. They started [Matthew] Murrell in the last game against Auburn, a very highly touted kid from Memphis by way of IMG. Jarkel Joiner, a transfer, lead the WAC in scoring at Cal State Bakersfield, very good player. [KJ] Buffen, who we’re familiar with, is back. He starts at the four for them. Khadim Sy started playing for them again. He was out for some games, but he’s been back. They’ve got a big transfer, a lefty from Samford, who Trendon [Watford] and some of our guys know. Then [Austin] Crowley, who they had last year, as well. That’s basically the nine they roll with. We’re fairly familiar with them. They’re the second-best defensive team in the SEC. They’re top 10 in the country in a lot of defensive categories. They change those defenses up so we’ve got to be ready for that.”

(Release via LSU Athletics)

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