LSU men’s basketball plays first game after an 11-day break

LSU men’s basketball team last played on Dec. 14 against Sam Houston State because three straight home games were cancelled by COVID-19.

Nicholls hasn’t played a contest since Dec. 1 because of five straight cancelations.

So, don’t expect a high quality of play between the 4-1 Tigers and 2-3 Colonels on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. 

Nicholls was named the opponent late Christmas Eve after Texas Southern was forced to withdraw from the game because of NCAA COVID-19 protocols.

LSU’s 88-66 win over Sam Houston State was a last-minute replacement game for LSU after the team’s trip to Atlanta to play South Florida was canceled. 

Saturday’s game is LSU’s last before opening the 2020-21 SEC season on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the PMAC against Texas A&M. 

Four LSU players enter the Nicholls game averaging in double figures with freshman Cam Thomas leading the way at 21.6 points. Sophomore Trendon Watford, who missed Sam Houston game with an ankle injury, is averaging 18.8 points.

Juniors Darius Days and Javonte Smart are averaging 15.8 and 14.4 points respectively.

LSU coach Will Wade said on his Wednesday night radio show he and his team have been battling COVID.

“We’ve had some kids who had it, we’ve had some kids who had a certain level of exposure,” Wade said. “It’s just been in groups. It’s been very slow, but we’ll be fully cleared to play on Saturday with the vast majority of our guys.”

Wade added the Tigers will be without one major player against the Colonels. Citing privacy laws, Wade declined to say who would be out.

“He’s not sick, he’s fine,” Wade said. “It’s all the timing of everything, so we’re going to be down one of our very good players. That’s the way it goes.”

Nicholls is led by Ty Gordon, who’s averaging 14 points and is shooting over 40 percent from the three-point arc. Also, Najee Garvin is averaging 11.8 points and a team best 7.4 rebounds a game. 

The teams last played in November of 2019 in the Maravich Center. LSU won 85-75. 

The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network (BR flagship Guaranty Media Eagle 98.1 FM) and telecast on the SEC Network. 

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Ron Higgins

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