Hoops Notebook: LSU looks to avoid history-making defeat vs. Auburn on Tuesday

By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor

LSU is on the verge of history heading into Tuesday night’s 6 p.m. tipoff against Auburn.

Unfortunately for the hosts, it’s the wrong side of history.

Johnny Jones’ Tigers (9-17, 1-13 SEC) have dropped 13 in a row, one short of tying the school record set 50 years ago. A home date with a young Auburn squad with three straight losses and a 5-9 league record could be the chance Jones’ team needs to get off the schneid.

“I think one of the big things that you look for is how their temperament has been in each practice and their preparation, and I think it’s been good,” said Jones. “I think that’s a telltale sign. They’re trying to get better and are focused.”

In the sea of ineptitude that has been their season so far, there are a few positive pieces of driftwood to latch on to. LSU played Auburn close on the road, falling by just four points, and the Tigers have outscored their opponents in at least one half four straight games after failing to do so in its previous six.

“The main thing is to just keep it going, man,” said sophomore guard Antonio Blakeney. “We just gotta learn how to close games. At least we know we can play with these teams. We know how to get better starts. We just gotta try to finish games.”

Blakeney has been another positive of late, averaging 27.3 points on 59 percent shooting from the field and 57 percent shooting from 3 in his last four. In SEC play, he’s been scorching from deep, hitting 42 percent of his triples. And he’s been particularly effective off the bounce in his sophomore season, shooting an SEC-best 44 percent off the dribble.

“Just playing how I play, trying to be aggressive, taking good shots,” he said. “I’ve taken some tough shots too, but after I get a few easy point, I get the tough shots to fall too. And it comes from my teammates. I’ve gotten a lot of easy points in transition the last few games.”

LSU will need everything it can get from Blakeney on Tuesday, if it hopes to avoid another loss. Jones, meanwhile, shrugged off questions about his job security, saying he was focused on Auburn and Auburn alone. His players remain similarly upbeat, feeling as if victory is just around the corner.

“I feel like we just have to learn from this,” said junior Duop Reath. “You have to go through something to get somewhere. I feel like God’s putting us through this to learn through this. One day, I feel like everything is going to change and turn around for us. We’re just getting tested. I feel like we are going to shake back.”

LSU Stats
[table]
Rk,Player,G,MP,FG,FGA,FG%,2P,2PA,2P%,3P,3PA,3P%,FT,FTA,FT%,TRB,AST,STL,BLK,TOV,PF,PTS
1,Antonio Blakeney,26,32.7,6.5,13.6,.475,4.7,9.1,.517,1.8,4.5,.390,2.7,3.9,.686,4.9,1.8,0.5,0.1,2.1,1.6,17.4
2,Duop Reath,26,27.5,5.4,10.3,.526,5.0,9.2,.542,0.4,1.1,.393,1.5,2.6,.597,6.2,0.8,0.5,1.5,2.2,3.4,12.8
3,Brandon Sampson,26,26.7,3.8,8.3,.461,2.6,4.5,.578,1.3,3.9,.327,2.2,3.0,.753,3.1,1.2,0.7,0.5,2.1,1.9,11.2
4,Craig Victor,8,25.3,4.0,9.9,.405,4.0,9.6,.416,0.0,0.3,.000,2.5,3.8,.667,7.6,1.0,1.3,0.6,1.5,2.8,10.5
5,Skylar Mays,26,22.8,2.5,6.2,.410,1.8,4.2,.444,0.7,2.0,.340,2.0,2.5,.788,2.3,3.8,1.3,0.1,2.2,1.7,7.8
6,Wayde Sims,26,19.5,2.6,5.1,.508,2.1,3.9,.535,0.5,1.2,.419,1.0,1.3,.743,3.8,0.5,0.8,0.5,1.0,1.8,6.7
7,Aaron Epps,25,17.1,2.4,5.0,.472,2.0,4.0,.490,0.4,1.0,.400,0.8,1.2,.613,4.5,0.5,0.2,0.4,1.5,2.8,5.9
8,Jalyn Patterson,26,23.1,2.0,5.4,.379,1.1,2.1,.509,1.0,3.3,.294,0.5,0.7,.667,3.1,3.2,1.2,0.1,1.7,1.4,5.5
9,Elbert Robinson,22,6.4,0.8,1.3,.607,0.8,1.3,.607,0.0,0.0,,0.5,1.3,.414,1.4,0.3,0.1,0.3,0.9,1.8,2.1
10,Brandon Eddlestone,7,7.1,0.4,1.3,.333,0.3,0.9,.333,0.1,0.4,.333,0.3,0.6,.500,2.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.1,0.6,1.3
11,Kieran Hayward,22,8.9,0.4,1.9,.220,0.0,0.6,.071,0.4,1.2,.296,0.1,0.2,.600,1.2,0.3,0.2,0.1,0.2,1.4,1.3
12,Branden Jenkins,14,8.0,0.4,2.2,.194,0.2,1.4,.150,0.2,0.8,.273,0.1,0.6,.222,0.6,0.6,0.2,0.0,0.5,0.9,1.2
13,Brian Bridgewater,18,3.8,0.3,0.7,.500,0.3,0.7,.500,0.0,0.0,,0.2,0.2,.750,0.6,0.1,0.1,0.0,0.2,0.9,0.8
14,Marshall Graves,12,3.4,0.1,0.5,.167,0.1,0.3,.333,0.0,0.3,.000,0.0,0.1,.000,0.3,0.3,0.1,0.0,0.3,0.5,0.2
15,Reed Vial,5,1.0,0.0,0.0,,0.0,0.0,,0.0,0.0,,0.2,0.4,.500,0.2,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.0,0.2

[/table]

Know the Foe: Auburn Stats

[table]

Rk,Player,G,MP,FG%,3P,3PA,3P%,FT%,TRB,AST,STL,BLK,PTS
1,Mustapha Heron,27,27.9,.428,1.3,3.3,.409,.772,5.7,1.3,1.0,0.2,15.2
2,Jared Harper,27,24.0,.402,1.7,4.8,.354,.719,2.0,2.7,1.1,0.1,12.0
3,Danjel Purifoy,24,28.0,.387,2.0,5.5,.368,.873,4.8,2.0,1.5,0.1,11.3
4,Austin Wiley,18,17.8,.606,0.0,0.0,,.473,4.8,0.2,0.2,1.2,9.1
5,Ronnie Johnson,27,16.5,.445,0.8,1.9,.404,.725,1.6,2.4,0.7,0.0,7.9
6,T.J. Dunans,26,24.7,.367,0.5,2.3,.203,.590,3.6,2.6,1.0,0.8,7.8
7,Bryce Brown,23,21.0,.316,1.7,4.9,.339,.680,1.8,1.3,1.0,0.3,6.7
8,Anfernee McLemore,27,14.0,.714,0.0,0.0,1.000,.568,4.4,0.1,0.3,1.0,5.4
9,Horace Spencer,19,16.3,.561,0.0,0.1,.000,.500,3.4,0.5,0.7,1.5,4.8
10,TJ Lang,24,16.8,.377,1.0,2.8,.368,.633,1.8,0.5,0.3,0.1,4.3
11,LaRon Smith,21,12.7,.523,0.0,0.0,,.556,2.6,0.2,0.3,1.0,2.9
14,Devin Waddell,10,7.5,.333,0.2,0.4,.500,.333,0.6,0.3,0.0,0.0,0.7

[/table]
Provided by <a href=”http://www.sports-reference.com/sharing.html?utm_source=direct&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=ShareTool”>CBB at Sports Reference</a>: <a href=”http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/schools/auburn/2017.html?sr&utm_source=direct&utm_medium=Share&utm_campaign=ShareTool#per_game”>View Original Table</a><br>Generated 2/21/2017.

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Cody Worsham

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