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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 12, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Arena (12,989) -- College Station, Texas. Television: CSS CST. Home Record: LSU 11-1, Texas A&M 12-2. Away Record: LSU 2-4, Texas A&M 1-5. Neutral Record: LSU 2-1, Texas A&M 0-3. Conference Record: LSU 6-4, Texas A&M 4-6. Series Record: LSU leads, 15-11.
GAME NOTES: The Texas A&M Aggies return home to Reed Arena on Wednesday night to do battle with the LSU Tigers in SEC action.
With its 87-80 victory over Auburn on Saturday afternoon, LSU has now won three of its last four games, although all three wins have come on its home floor. The Tigers are now an impressive 15-7 overall and 6-4 in the SEC, but they have lost three in a row on the road to dip to 2-4 away from home on the season.
Texas A&M has been fading fast in the SEC picture with losses in six of its last seven games, most recently dropping a 62-50 decision at Georgia on Saturday to fall to 13-10. The Aggies are just 4-6 in league play, but they have been outstanding in College Station with a 12-2 mark at Reed Arena.
The Tigers swept the season series in 2012-13 to improve to 15-11 all time versus the Aggies.
LSU appeared to be in trouble against Auburn over the weekend, finding itself down by three early in the second half, but it proceeded to rip off a 29-13 run over the next 10 minutes to take control. It shot 45.6 percent from the field on the afternoon, outscored Auburn at the free-throw line, 27-16, and won the rebounding battle, 46-35. Johnny O'Bryant III paced the balanced effort with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Jordan Mickey (14 points, 10 rebounds) also had a double-double. Andre Stringer tallied 18 points and seven assists, and Anthony Hickey and Jarell Martin poured in 17 and 11 points, respectively.
The Tigers have found success this season behind the SEC's third-best offensive attack, as they shoot 45.3 percent from the field for 77.7 ppg, which adequately masks the league's third-worst scoring defense (71.3 ppg). Their strength comes in the frontcourt, where O'Bryant (15.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.0 bpg) and Mickey (13.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 3.6 bpg) both shoot greater than 52 percent from the field. Stringer (12.4 ppg) has a team-high 47 3-pointers, while Martin (9.5 ppg), Hickey (9.0 ppg, 2.1 spg) and Shavon Coleman (8.3 ppg) have been impressive as well for the well-balanced squad.
After taking a one-point lead midway through the second half on a Shawn Smith layup, Texas A&M was outscored the rest of the way, 23-10, en route to the double-digit setback. It shot a mere 33.9 percent from the floor, which included a dreadful 1-of-19 showing from 3-point range. Jamal Jones netted a game-high 17 points, but that total was mostly a product of volume, as he shot a meager 5-of-21 from the field. Kourtney Roberson was solid in the paint with nine points (on 4-of-5 field goal shooting) and seven rebounds.
The Aggies have been able to remain competitive in most of their contests thanks to an outstanding scoring defense (62.7 ppg), which ranks second in the league behind only Florida. Unfortunately their effort on the offensive end of the floor in the conference's worst, as they shoot 42.9 percent from the field for just 65.0 ppg. Jones is the team's top scoring option with 12.0 ppg, and that number has risen to 15.1 ppg in conference action, but he oftentimes hurts more than he helps with a poor field-goal percentage (.361). Roberson is steady down low with 9.7 ppg and 6.9 rpg, while Alex Caruso (8.0 ppg) hands out 4.7 apg.
Texas A&M's recent struggles aside, it'll have a great chance at a victory in this one thanks to its stellar play at home matched up against an LSU squad that is shaky on the road. However, expect the Tigers' superior talent to win out down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 68, Texas A&M 66
02/12 10:44:59 ET
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