Men's Hoops Dumps UC Irvine, Wins Fourth Straight
ROUGE - Justin Hamilton turned in 14 points to go along with a
career-high 11 rebounds, his first career double-double in an LSU
uniform, as the Tigers posted a 66-59 victory over UC Irvine Thursday
at the Maravich Center.
LSU (7-3) collected its fourth straight
victory and also held its opponent to under 60 points for the fourth
consecutive time. During the streak, the Tigers have limited the
opposition to a 34.9 shooting percentage from the floor.
Irvine (2-8) trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit down to 50-46 on a
Michael Wilder three-pointer with 6:24 remaining in the second half.
a LSU timeout, Hamilton strung together a jump hook off the glass on a
solid pass from Anthony Hickey followed by a pair of free throws to
push the Tiger advantage back to 54-46 at the 5:15 mark.
buried another triple, but Hamilton powered home a dunk from the left
baseline to vault the Tigers ahead 56-49 with 2:15 left. LSU, the SEC's
best free throw shooting team entering the tilt, converted 8-of-10 at
the charity stripe over the final 1:59 to secure the 66-59 win.
poured in 12 of his team-high 14 points, while Wilder countered with 16
of his game-best 19 points all during the second half.
All 10 players who saw action for LSU scored a point and grabbed a rebound.
Ludwig equaled a career-high 12 points on 4-of-7 from the floor
highlighted by a pair of three-pointers. His previous 12-point effort
came at Tennessee on Jan. 26, 2011. Ralston Turner chipped in nine
points despite being held to a 2-for-17 shooting performance.
also received a trio of solid performances from the bench. Returning to
action after missing the Boise State contest, John Isaac added six
points. It was Isaac's highest output since he tallied 13 points
against Nicholls State during the season opener.
Courtney matched a career-high with five points, all in the first half.
Chris Bass came away with a solid all-around effort with three points,
four rebounds and four assists. Over the last two games, Bass has
dished out nine helpers against zero turnovers.
built a 28-16 halftime advantage behind suffocating defense. UCI shot a
blistering 7-of-32 and missed 13 of its 14 three-point attempts during
the opening stanza.
LSU will face its toughest test of the
season to date Monday as No. 11 Marquette visits the Maravich Center.
Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m., and the game will be televised by Fox
The LSU Sports Radio Network also will carry the
game live on 100.7 FM (The Tiger) in the Baton Rouge area. Jim
Hawthorne, Kevin Ford and Ricky Blanton will call the action.
HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
were fortunate enough to win. I thought our bench did a good job. I was
very pleased with Jalen Courtney's play. It gave us a spark. Storm
(Warren), Malcolm (White) and Chris (Bass) also played very well. I
don't want to take anything away from Cal Irvine. I thought they
competed, and that is what college basketball is all about. You can
throw your won-loss record out the window. I thought they were
competing. They beat us to a lot of loose balls, which I thought was
very disturbing. But in the end, we found a way to win; we found a way
to win. Good thing about it is we won a good basketball game. We had a
lot of open shots and balls just were not going down for guys. We have
to continue to shoot them. I have not looked at the tape, but I have to
believe for the most part when they went to the zone, we probably had
15 or 16 open jump shots that we usually make in rhythm.
will practice (Friday) and watch some extensive video on Marquette. We
will come back Saturday morning and practice long and hard. On Sunday,
we will practice in the afternoon or sometime in the evening."
On keeping guys confident with shooting...
have shot the ball more in the last three days than we have all year
with this team. If they were bad shots it would be one thing, but we
are getting good shots. I don't talk about it. I just always tell them
to stay aggressive and if it a mechanical problem, we will work on it.
For the most part, without looking at the tape, guys had open shots
that were in rhythm so we will go from there. Bottom line is everybody
has an opportunity."
On the challenge a caliber team like Marquette brings...
there are a lot of teams of that caliber coming here. The thing that is
impressive to me is that they are talented, but they are also tough and
they compete. Everything is action off the dribble for them. They are
aggressive and are really talented. They have had a lot of success.
a basketball prospective, Marquette is one of the premiere programs in
the country over the last 15 years or so. This team is a very good
ranked opponent, and it will be a good gage of where we stand as a
On letting UC Irvine come back in the second half -
out in the second half, we really wanted to extend our lead, but you
have to give them credit, they came out and fought us all the way
through the second half. It really came down to the hustle plays,
the 50/50 balls and it seemed like more times than not, they were the
ones getting the ball. The coaches weren't happy about that, we
aren't happy about that, but at the end of the day we did get the win
and that's the most important thing. There are a lot of little
things that we have to correct and get better at."
On if the offense needs to improve going forward -
and no. I say no because we are so focused on defense and that's
pretty much our M.O. And I say yes because there is going to come
a point in time when we might have to knock down a shot or two.
With that being said our M.O. is defense, it's always been defense and
it's going to always be defense and we feel like as long as we do that,
we'll always have a chance."
On hitting some big shots after UC Irvine cut the lead to four -
whole game they were playing tough and I was just trying to be
aggressive. Finally I got the ball in a spot I needed to get it
in and I was able to make a couple of plays, but I think our defense in
that stretch was really good and we just need to finish it."
On making some plays in the first half -
always tells us to always stay ready as a backup. We were kind of
flat a little bit, but we got it turned around. You have to
extend and keep playing well."
UC Irvine Head Coach Russell Turner
have had a number of games where we have struggled to adjust to what
our opponents have been able to do to us early in the game. We have had
rough first halves. We have to take responsibility for that as coaches
and players. We have to start games better. I am proud of our team's
effort, but we have to play better to win. We gave ourselves a chance
coming down the stretch to make a few plays and win the game. We just
didn't make enough of those plays. That has been the story of our
start. We have a tough schedule, we are getting better and are going to
be really competitive in the Big West when we start conference play."
On the improvements needed...
Best and Marcus Bradley are going to be good players for us. The issue
is that we have Michael Wilder playing the four. He is playing
excellent basketball. It is hard to get enough time for the younger
guys. I need to figure out a way for us to be more effective with two
big guys on the court. Mike Wilder has to be more effective as a three
but most of the success he has had is at the four. We are going to have
to get stronger in the weight room and have to get smarter in drawing
fouls against big physical teams. We are going to have to keep working
to improve as a team."
On the defensive performance...
have spent a lot of time focusing on our defensive performance as a
team. That is going to be the key to us long term for being good. That
has shown up in our offensive performances, our guys are smart and do a
good job with the game plan. Our players are putting in the time, and
we have played good defensively against good teams. We are going to
start winning games if we continue to defend this way. We still need to
develop continuity and flow on offense. This experience with our
non-conference schedule will help us be better this year in the Big