LSU (6-1) at UC Irvine (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 18, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bren Events Center (4,984) -- Irvine. California. Television: None. Home Record: LSU 6-0, UCI 3-0. Away Record: LSU 0-1, UCI 1-5. Neutral Record: LSU 0-0, UCI 0-0. Conference Record: LSU 0-0, UCI 0-0. Series Record: LSU leads, 1-0.
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.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Irvine 76, LSU 70
12/18 10:39:24 ET