GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers continue their three-game road trip on Tuesday
night when they battle the UC Irvine Anteaters in non-conference action.
LSU started the season red-hot, winning every game of its six-game homestand,
and it was the first time since the 2008-09 season that it has started at 6-0.
The Tigers' luck ran out in their first road tilt however, falling at Boise
State last Friday, 89-70.
UC Irvine opened up a very promising 3-1, with its only loss in that span
coming in a heartbreaker at UCLA, 80-79. The Anteaters got cold in a hurry
however, falling into a four-game losing streak before snapping out of it
lately with wins in two of their last three. They most recently logged an
impressive road win at Fresno State on Saturday, 58-51.
These two programs met for the first time last December in Baton Rouge, with
LSU coming away with a 66-59 win.
It's been a well-balanced start to the season for LSU, which has connected on
46 percent of its field goal attempts for 78.4 ppg, 10.0 ppg more than its
opponents, but it put forth its worst performance of the year in the 19-point
loss to Boise State. The Tigers shot 44.1 percent from the floor and made 10
3-pointers in the contest, but they also committed 20 turnovers and allowed
Boise State to make 29-of-63 from the field. Corban Collins provided a big
spark off the bench, draining 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range en route to a
team-high 19 points. Johnny O'Bryant scored 15 points, and Shavon Coleman
added 11 points and seven rebounds. Despite starting just one of the seven
games so far, Coleman is LSU's leading scorer, averaging 15.1 ppg at a 55.1
percent clip, chipping in with 7.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg and 1.4 spg for good measure.
O'Bryant III (13.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg) has also been fantastic from the floor,
making 56.7 percent of his total shots, and Andre Stringer rounds out the
unit's double-digit scorers with 10.1 ppg.
At Fresno State on Saturday, UC Irvine was far from its best shooting the
ball, making just 34.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 3-of-16
from 3-point range, but it was able to capture the victory behind a fantastic
effort at the defensive end as it held the Bulldogs to 14-of-55 shooting
(.255). Chris McNealy had 13 points and Alex Young netted 12 points, and while
Will Davis II wasn't much of a factor on the scoreboard (six points), he
ripped down 15 boards and blocked a pair of shots. On the season, the
Anteaters score a respectable 71.5 ppg, but they do so on a modest 43.1
percent shooting effort. Their free throw percentage (.621) leaves much to be
desired. Only Daman Starring averages double figures, as he scores 12.9 ppg on
41 percent from beyond the arc. Adam Folker (7.3 ppg) grabs 6.4 rpg for a
squad that outrebounds its opponents by nearly eight boards per contest.
LSU is a talented team, but as it showed against Boise State, the cross-
country road trip is bound to cause some issues. UC Irvine is far from a
pushover, as it is one of the more experienced teams in the Big West, and it
will use a balanced scoring effort to defeat the Tigers.