LSU (3-1) vs. Saint Joseph's (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 28, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: HP Field House (5,000) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: LSU 3-0, SJU 1-1. Away Record: LSU 0-1, SJU 1-0. Neutral Record: LSU 0-0, SJU 0-0. Conference Record: LSU 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Saint Joseph's leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers and Saint Joseph's Hawks wrap up opening-round action at the Old Spice Classic on Thanksgiving night, when the two meet at HP Field House in Orlando.
The winner will face either Memphis or Siena in Friday's semifinals, while the losers will play in the consolation round.
Since opening up its season with a 92-90 loss at Massachusetts during the Tip- Off Marathon, LSU have reeled off three straight home wins prior to its arrival in Florida. The Tigers most recently made easy work of Southeastern Louisiana on Nov. 22, 86-66.
Saint Joseph's early slate of games has been rather quiet, as it has played just three contests in the first three weeks. The Hawks' latest game was more than a week ago (Nov. 16), and though they fought hard at home against nationally-ranked Creighton, they fell on the wrong end of an 83-79 final for their first loss of the season.
These two teams have only met once before way back in December of 1949, with Saint Joseph's coming away victorious, 61-59.
Against an inferior opponent on their home floor, the Tigers shot a lofty 52.5 percent from the field and dominated the rebounding battle, 45-29, on their way to the 23-point triumph. Johnny O'Bryant paced five players in double figures with 18 points and made it a double-double by adding 10 rebounds. Jordan Mickey netted 17 points while also making his presence felt on defense with five blocks and two steals. Anthony Hickey (10 points, seven rebounds, six assists, seven steals) also stuffed the stat sheet, while Andre Stringer and Shavon Coleman added 12 and 10 points, respectively. On the season, LSU is used to strong efforts at both ends of the floor, as it scores 87.0 points per game, allows 71.5 ppg, and owns an outstanding +15.3 rebounding margin. O'Bryant and Stringer both pour in 18.3 points per game, while O'Bryant adds 11.5 rebounds per contest. Mickey (14.3 ppg) has swatted away 19 shots, and Hickey (10.5 ppg) leads the team in both assists (23) and steals (15).
The Hawks appeared to be on their way to an upset of Creighton the last time out, as they held a one-point lead with five seconds remaining before falling victim to a game-winning three-point play by Doug McDermott. The Hawks made their presence felt from beyond the arc in the setback, draining 14-of-31 tries from long range. Six of those 3-pointers came from Chris Wilson, who scored 18 points. DeAndre Bembry led the way with 20 points, while Langston Galloway and Ronald Roberts finished with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Despite scoring just five points, Halil Kanacevic still registered a double- double with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. While the sample size is still small, Saint Joseph's has nonetheless been hot from 3-point range at just under 43 percent. Leading a scoring attack that nets 78.0 points per game is Galloway (18.3 ppg), while Roberts (16.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) is right on his tail. Bembry (13.3 ppg), Wilson (10.3 ppg) and Kanacevic (6.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.7 bpg) round out the balanced starting five.
These teams are very similar in that each has scoring depth throughout the starting lineup, but expect the Hawks' 3-point prowess to be the determining factor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Joseph's 80, LSU 78
11/28 10:34:26 ET