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Is there anything better for college basketball than early season tournament action? I say no. Over a stretch of 3 weeks, college basketball teams all over compete in neutral site, tournament style basketball. Eight teams enter, one leaves undefeated, but all leave learning something about their team.

The Old Spice Classic brought together one of the more impressive fields, including 5 NCAA tournament hopefuls. LSU's second round opponent, Memphis, beat top five Oklahoma State in the Championship game. LSU was able to beat a very solid Butler team to earn third place honors. Even Saint Joseph's, LSU's first round opponent swept through the rest of the field to earn fifth place in what ended up being 12 very exciting games in Orlando.

LSU 82, Saint Joseph's 65

This was LSU's only complete game of the tournament. They were able to beat SJU on all facets of the game. They shot 53% from the field, including 10-22 from three point land. They outrebounded the Hawks 38-29 and had a positive AST:TO ratio of 17:16. Andre Stringer led the scoring with 18 points and Mickey had another double double with 14 points and 10 boards.

LSU struggled to contain SJU center Ronald Roberts, an All-Tournament Team Selection, allowing 21 points for the big man. It was also the first game Jordan Mickey was not able to record a blocked shot. Still, LSU convincingly won the game, due in large part to a successful stint by the second stringers who brought energy to what started as a lethargic team effort.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (B)
Jarell Martin (A)
Jordan Mickey (A)
Anthony Hickey (B+)
Andre Stringer (A)
John Odo (C+)
Shavon Coleman (A)
Darcy Malone (C-)
Malik Morgan (C)
Tim Quarterman (B-)

#21 Memphis 76, LSU 69

LSU went into halftime up 38-34 despite struggling with turnovers. The Tigers shot well (57% field goals), and rebounded well (38 with +13 diff) but lost the game with an AST:TO ratio of 8:24. Johnny O'Bryant himself had 10 turnovers in the game. In only 4 minutes of action, Tim Quarterman had 3 turnovers. So while LSU shot over 10% better than Memphis, they took 11 less shots and made only 4 of 9 free throw attempts. Still, LSU had chances to beat a top 25 team not playing their best.

Anthony Hickey had 20 points and only 2 turnovers in the game. Johnny O'Bryant had 14 and Jordan Mickey had 10. Andre Stringer had a season low 2 points and the 69 total points marked the first time LSU failed to score at least 80 in a contest this season.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (C-)
Jarell Martin (B)
Jordan Mickey (B-)
Anthony Hickey (A)
Andre Stringer (B)
John Odo (B)
Shavon Coleman (A-)
Malik Morgan (B+)
Tim Quarterman (B-)

LSU 70, Butler 68 OT

LSU played in their first overtime game while facing the Butler Bulldogs in the third place game. Butler controlled the pace, slowing the game down, however LSU was still able to force an uncharacteristic amount of turnovers from the Bulldogs. In the first two games combined the Bulldogs only committed 13 turnovers and the Tigers were able to force Butler into 12. In fact, LSU was able to take care of the ball better than normal only committing 10 turnovers of their own. However rebounds almost lost the game for the Tigers.

LSU entered the game averaging a +13 rebound margin and left being outrebounded 48-36. They allowed 18 offensive boards and it almost did them in. With 10 seconds remaining neither Anthony Hickey or Andre Stringer had scored. But if you've followed LSU basketball the past 3 years, you knew the final play (down 3) would go to one of the two. On a play meant for Stringer, he found a wide open Hickey at the top of the key who knocked down a game tying trey with 4 seconds remaining. Butler missed their running three pointer at the buzzer.

Andre Stringer scored 2 very important points in OT and the Tigers ended victoriously. Coach Jones managed the game very well down the stretch and drew up some very good looking plays to get LSU open shots in the closing minutes. Jarell Martin received the pass, curling around 2 screens to get easy looks twice late in the game, but you can't forget about the effort LSU got off it's bench.

Shavon Coleman and Malik Morgan brought it off the bench. Both finished with 12 points and Morgan added 7 rebounds and 3 steals. O'Bryant scored 17 while Mickey and Martin both scored 12 to give LSU a rounded scoring game from everyone over 6' tall. Though Stringer only had 2 points, he contributed with a 5:0 AST:TO and never forced anything. This victory could go a long way in building the character of this team as well as getting LSU into the tournament come March.

Player Grades:
Johnny O'Bryant (A-)
Jarell Martin (A-)
Jordan Mickey (A-)
Andre Stringer (B-)
Anthony Hickey (C+)
Shavon Coleman (A)
Malik Morgan (A)
Tim Quarterman (C+)

In the end, LSU would have loved to play Memphis better, but LSU learned a lot about themselves this weekend. You saw what will likely be the SEC rotation against Butler with only 8 playing the majority of the minutes. Hickey, Stringer, Martin, Mickey, and JOB will be the starters. Coleman, Morgan, and Quarterman will come off the bench with significant playing time. Odo, Malone and Hammink will play spot minutes in given situations, but won't see the kind of time the other 8 will.

The Tigers moved up from 51st in KenPom Computer rating to 41st. They received two top 100 wins. LSU's RPI is currently at 49th, but I expect those two wins to carry more RPI weight later this season after both teams get into their conference play.
Filed Under: LSU Basketball

Comments (55) - Add Comments

BigEdLSU - 24 months ago
Hey south check out the bball recruiting thread
tigers32 - 24 months ago

I still think they are two of our top weapons, but LSU won't win many games when our guards aren't scoring in the first 40 minutes of the game. Gotta take some pressure off the post players.

Completely agree. I've said this in a few basketball threads, but I'm concerned about our guard play this season. We have two good guards, but we can't afford off-nights. Although Hickey can make shots (even tough/clutch shots), I don't think we can rely on his scoring ability. Stringer is a shooter first & foremost. All shooters have poor shooting games. We sure could use Malik to help in that area. I'm just concerned about reliable scoring from the guard spots. We are a 'Josh Gray' away from being a Sweet 16 or better team IMO.
SouthOfSouth - 24 months ago
I'm always appreciative of good defense, but Hickey and Stringer were nearly invisible on offense. 57 minutes of action and 5 points.

I think Stringer did a lot of positives on defense and even passing the ball, but Hickey I felt was truly invisible.

I still think they are two of our top weapons, but LSU won't win many games when our guards aren't scoring in the first 40 minutes of the game. Gotta take some pressure off the post players.

Either way, it took the whole team to get the W against Butler. You knew Hickey would hit that three as time was expiring. He has done it his whole career.

A B- isn't that bad. 38% of the grades have been B- or worse. Was his game in the top 60% of games played by an LSU player this year? I don't think so. Even with a good defensive performance.

There may be some bias to the fact that LSU expects more offensive production than he gave. If Hammink had the game Stringer had I may have awarded him a B or B+ but in the end, LSU expects more out of Stringer offensively.
tigers32 - 24 months ago
It's incredible how our two little guards can defend their bigger/taller counterparts. I'm still a little surprised they left Andre out there on Dunham considering Dunham's success in the Classic.
Benw225 - 24 months ago

Andre deserves a B+. I know he didn't score at the level he usually has this season, but he was relentless when he was on Denham, especially in the 2nd half & OT.

This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Dunham was making noise from the perimeter the whole tournament including setting the single game scoring record at 32 pts. Stringer may not have scored much but his hustle and scrappy defensive play kept Dunham's scoring to his low for the tournament. Not the mention the huge size advantage Dunham had at 6'6". Andre was in and out the whole game but when he was in, his defense pestered Dunham and really settle his scoring down. Hats off to Stringer for his hustle and him finding a way to contribute to a huge OOC win without putting up big scoring numbers.
:cheers: :geauxtigers:
omegaman66 - 24 months ago
I hope you missed the last one. It was horrible. It is one thing to miss shots, it is one thing to have a poor night handling the ball, but the defense in the last game that we somehow won was just terrible.

No rebounding at all in a game we should have killed them in that department. And it was all on the tigers not the opponent in my opinion. Worst game of the year I would think.

But the GREAT news is they beat a decent team when playing what has to be their absolute worst. So I will take that silver lining and run with it.

The first game was their best of the year. Executed and hit shots the whole game. Was a thing of beauty.
webman - 24 months ago
nice job. I missed 2 of these games but I am looking for good things this year
Britgirl - 24 months ago

Andre Stringer (B-)
Anthony Hickey (C+)

Not sure I agree with you on these grades South.
Andre deserves a B+. I know he didn't score at the level he usually has this season, but he was relentless when he was on Denham, especially in the 2nd half & OT.
I think I was in a better position to view this than most, since I was at the game, behind the bench and not watching on TV. I could see the physical effort and some of the slight nuances, up close and personal. Denham had about 6" on him, but Andre ran around with him most the time, keeping about a foot or less away from him. It did inhibit Denham's play, keeping him to 20 points. Denham is extremely fast and agile, he does this little stutter side to side head/body fake all the time which fooled WSU most of their game, when he scored 32 points. Andre didn't fall for it and worked very hard to move through and around the screens Butler set for Denham, even though everyone was taller. I liked his effort on a difficult job. Coach Jones knew what he was doing when deciding to put Stringer in for that (Malik was pretty good on him too).
Also, on the final regulation play from the timeout, where Hickey scored the 3, (which was as you say, drawn up for Dre). He knew he didn't have a great look and saw Anthony coming in and knowing time was running out was quick-thinking enough to pass it to him. He had confidence in Anthony. I think that was a great decision.

As to Hickey, he did a good job of running the half court offenses, patiently trying to find players open, not getting frustrated or speeding up. He also was right in there sneakily setting picks down low and trying to hold position amongst the big trees. I think it surprised Butler a few times.
Like Andre, he's not afraid of putting his body on the line, despite his size. Give him a B.
Once Jarell gets used to running off the ball more, these offenses will work much better, giving the guards/CJJ options.

I'm generally not a fan of running a half-court offense on a breakaway BTW. I'd like to see us run a fast break most of the time when Hickey & Stringer are out there, IMO. They're so fast and great ball-handlers, with a player like Mickey they can outgun many a team. I'm a bit surprised that CJJ doesn't go to this more since I was expecting more of a run & gun game style from him, with all the bench depth we have now?????

Britgirl - 24 months ago

do they still send tutors on the road with them? we used to have an OT 7.3 that was good at teh maths

Not sure. Probably not for overnight trips, and not for this one - too many games, and some practices in a few days. Plus they had one day on Rn'R for a bit of fun.
lsueast - 24 months ago
Anyone have a gif of hickey's three?
Tom Bronco - 24 months ago
I agree with you and others. Martin has to stop settling for so many jumpers and attack the basket. He looks to be one of our better free throw shooters. Therefore he needs to be fouled.

JOB and Mickey looked tired against Butler and I think that had something to do with our lack of rebounding and why the fairly fresh Morgan and Coleman did well. I would have liked Odo and Hammink to get some minutes so the others didn't wear down.
oauron - 24 months ago

Can we talk about the Tower of Terror ride and the video they showed during the game? That thing was hilarious

It was a great picture. Jarell, JOB, and Coach Jones all had great faces.
S - 24 months ago
do they still send tutors on the road with them? we used to have an OT 7.3 that was good at teh maths
BigEdLSU - 24 months ago
UMASS is ranked 21 and 22 in the new polls.

Britgirl - 24 months ago

12 day layoff sucks. like they're gonna study for finals anyway.

NCAA mandates that from tomorrow teams can't play for 7 days. It's too bad we don't have a game right after though.

And you'd better believe they'll be studying. Coaches are on them hard. While they travel, all the classes they're missing are recorded and are available to them online, so no excuses for being late on assignments. They also all have iPads to work on other projects while they're away. Each player is also answerable to advisors.

Gone are the days when student athletes can screw off. At least for this basketball team.
bbap - 24 months ago
12 day layoff sucks. like they're gonna study for finals anyway.
SouthOfSouth - 24 months ago
yea. wasn't really clear. I always struggle to decide whenther you fall in rankings down or up. :banghead:
bbap - 24 months ago
roger that. you said dropped to 30. but im following you now.
SouthOfSouth - 24 months ago

These two sentences dont make sense.

Started week at 51.

Beat St Josephs and moved to 30.

Lost to Memphis and moved to 41.

Beat Butler and stayed at 41.
bbap - 24 months ago

KenPom went from 51 to 41. Before the Memphis loss we dropped to 30.

These two sentences dont make sense.
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