LSU looking to turn up its offense against UNO on Thursday night

LSU needs to step up its offense against UNO on Thursday night in the worst kind of way.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU (2-0) must convert more from the inside the arc, where it missed too many layups and dunks against Arkansas State last Saturday in a 61-52 win, coach Matt McMahon said.

McMahon also wants the unforced mental errors that are resulting in turnovers to stop.

LSU’s poor shooting from close range, and excessive turnovers, have allowed LSU’s first two opponents, both of which had obviously inferior talent and depth compared to the Tigers, to hang around within striking distance late in game.

In both games, Arkansas State and Kansas City made a run to close the game, but LSU managed to win.

Arkansas State closed to within two points, inside the 10-minute mark of the game, but LSU was able to hold the Red Wolves scoreless for over seven minutes, while expanding the lead eventually to 13 points with three minutes to play.

It’s an early-season trend LSU would like to see end against UNO, McMahon said.

UNO (1-1) lost 89-53 at Butler in its last game after it opened its season with a 65-63 win over St. Francis of Illinois at Lakefront Arena.

Jordan Johnson and Khaleb Wilson-Rouse each scored 14 points to lead the Privateers in its win.. Mark Slessinger is in his 12th year as the head coach at UNO.

LSU leads the overall series against UNO, 12-4.

LSU has 26 consecutive wins over Louisiana schools dating back to Nov. 2010 when LSU lost to Nicholls, 62-53.

Only three LSU players – Adam Miller, KJ Williams, and Justice Hill – scored field goals against Arkansas State last Saturday and coach McMahon blamed the teams overall lack of offensive production on missed “gimmees” – layups and dunks – that should have been converted to field goals but failed.

Miller is averaging 22 points per game, having made 8-of-18 three-pointers so far this season, while Williams is averaging 14 points and nine rebounds. Hill is scoring 12 points a game and averaging five assists.

Miller, LSU’s leading scorer with 28 points against Arkansas State and 18 against Kansas City, has shot well from both inside and outside but overall the Tigers are missing out elsewhere early in the season.

“The 3-point efficiency has been very good; our 3-point shot selection has been very good,” McMahon said Tuesday. “But when you look at the two-point percentage, it’s poor — and it has to get better.”

LSU made 12 of 21 two-point field goal attempts against Kansas City and was 9 of 22 against Arkansas State.

“The first game, it was more of a shot-selection issue,” McMahon said, “too many contested mid-range shots, runners, floaters, high-degree-of-difficulty shots.

“In the second game, we just failed to finish plays. We got the ball to the rim, we counted on video 12 opportunities at the rim. Some of them were challenged or contested, but those are plays we have to finish. I think you’ll see improvement there as we move forward … there has to be.”

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