The LSU men’s basketball team tries to get back on the winning side Saturday as they face the University of Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The No. 13th-ranked Tigers and the No. 24 Vols tip off just after 5 p.m. CT on ESPN.
LSU is coming off back-to-back losses to Arkansas at home (64-58) and at Alabama Wednesday night (70-67). In the game at Tuscaloosa, the Tigers rallied from 13 down in the final eight minutes to tie the game and after Alabama retook the lead, had a three-pointer in the air to tie the game at the buzzer.
It was after the game that the Tigers week took a bit of a turn as plane issues kept the Tigers from leaving Tuscaloosa for what was expected to be a routine 45-minute flight back to Baton Rouge after Wednesday’s game.
That forced the team to stay the night in a Tuscaloosa hotel and then the decision was made to travel straight to Knoxville on Thursday afternoon. LSU arrived about 5:30 p.m. ET and had a dinner at the hotel and then the team went to a local entertainment center that featured bowling lanes, laser tag and other games.
Friday the team began its normal preparations with video sessions, a noon practice at Hardin Valley Academy and then a Friday night shooting session at Thompson-Boling Arena.
LSU is 15-3 and 3-3 in the league while Tennessee is 12-5 and 3-3 in the league. The teams met back on Jan. 8 in Baton Rouge with LSU winning, 79-67. LSU opened up a 42-35 halftime advantage and built as much as a 20-point lead in the second 20 minutes. Tari Eason had his first 20-10 game of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Darius Days had 15 points and Brandon Murray 13.
Kennedy Chandler led Tennessee with 19 points.
LSU made 27-of-57 field goals or 47.4 percent while Tennessee posted a 38.8 percent number from the field (19-of-490. LSU out rebounded Tennessee, 41-33.
The Vols are coming off a 68-60 win over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night in Nashville. Santiago Vescovi led the Vols with 14. Vescovi is averaging 14.0 points a game this season, while Chandler is at 13.6 points a game.
Tennessee leads the overall series with LSU, 65-50, with a 31-18 edge in games played in Knoxville. With the win earlier this month, LSU has won the last four meetings and six-of-the-last-seven games in the series.
Eason led LSU on Wednesday night with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Murray had a season best 19 points.
Wade said Xavier Pinson, who has been out for the last three games, is doubtful for Saturday’s game while Darius Days, who twisted his ankle late in the first half against Alabama, would be a game-time decision but probably be able to play on Saturday.