Photo Gallery - LSU vs Xavier

LSU came into the game looking to discover player groups that work well together. Mission accomplished. LSU started the game with the same five that started against Houston in a closed scrimmage last weekend (Quarterman, Stringer, Martin, Mickey, O'Bryant), however LSU had all 10 available scholarship players play double digit minutes.

The Biggest Story lines

Jordan Mickey.

A ton of people expected great things from the freshman, but in his first public action of his promising career, he exceeded all expectations. Mickey scored 12 points on 6-10 shooting, had 6 rebounds, 8 blocks, a steal and 4 assists. All of that in only 23 minutes of action in which he only committed 1 turnover. Mickey missed a couple easy shots early on, but settled in as an absolute force in the paint. Xavier only shot 14% from the field in the first half and that is a testament to the affect Mickey was having on Xavier players.

Free Throw Shooting.

Five times last year LSU shot a better three point percentage than free throw percentage; That happened tonight. LSU shot only 47% from the free throw line making 9 of 19 from the charity stripe. Johnny O'Bryant hit 3 of 3 but everyone else shot poorly. With the athleticism LSU has, they can get fouled almost at will, however, right now LSU would rather shoot from half court than try and win a game from the free throw line.

Quarterman vs Hickey.

The point guard minutes will be very interesting to watch. Last night Quarterman played 22 minutes and Hickey logged 19. Their games are very different and the tone is different when one or the other is playing. Quarterman has a calming effect on the offense and defense, while Hickeys quickness seems to bring "controlled recklessness" that helped him lead the SEC in steals last year. Hickey may be coming off the bench for disciplinary reasons, but Quarterman is a good option finishing the game with a 6:1 Ast:TO ratio.

Can Shortess get minutes?

Henry Shortess, the short kid everyone thinks is a waterboy can shoot. In high school he hit 93% free throws and 42% three pointers, and he delivered last night going 2 for 2 from deep. Can Shortess break into the games late and get some baskets this year? I think absolutely.

The centers not so offensively center.

The height is there with Darcy Malone and John Odo, but the offensive game may take more time in 27 combined minutes the twin towers made 1 free throw for their only point of the game. It's obvious that Odo is an excellent rebounder and logged 11 including 5 offensive boards. I was also very impressed with both centers ability to get up and down the court, however I think the forwards will likely take most of the minutes from these two.

The Starting Five

Besides the battle between Tim Quarterman and Anthony Hickey, this team looks like they have found their starters. Andre Stringer is solid at the 2 spot even with the improved game of Malik Morgan (10 pts, 4 ast, 5 rebs). Martin had a somewhat rocky start but showed glimpses of greatness driving to the hoop and with a nice step-back jumper. Mickey is LSU's PF. He is too important on the defensive side, but he also brings some incredible athleticism to the offensive side. Johnny O'Bryant will continue to play the lions share of the 5 minutes. Unfortunately he picked up 3 fouls in 3 minutes early in the second half, but he was as impressive as ever, hitting all of his shots and falling 1 point away from a double double in only 18 minutes.

Player Grades:

O'Bryant - (B) With his skill level he has to stay on the court. To pick up 4 fouls only minutes into the second half cannot happen. However, he looks great inside on offense and rebounding.

Martin - (B-) Jarell showed glimpses of what his arsenal holds, but inconsistency plagued the freshman. With time he can be one of LSU's most important pieces, but that wasn't the case tonight.

Mickey - (A) Jordan did just about everything right. He will stuff the box scores all season long. His performance tonight was exemplary.

Stringer - (A) Andre hit 6 of 11 from deep and scored 22 points. He logged a steal and 2 rebounds to go along with those points. However, he missed 2 of 4 free throws which he needs to concentrate on hitting.

Quarterman - (B) Tim like to pass. He had a 6:1 ast to turnover ratio but was unable to score going 0 for 4 from the field and 0 for 2 from the line. Without some offensive presence, he will not be as effective going forward, but he was just what LSU needed last night.

Hickey - (B+) Anthony came off the bench and hit 2 of 4 from deep, had 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals. He didn't commit a turnover and played very well in his 19 minutes.

Hammink - (B-) Shane had a very good game. He had 2 points and 2 assists while commiting zero turnovers and blocking a shot in 11 minutes.

Malone - (C+) Darcy played for 12 minutes and scored 1 point. He pulled down 3 rebounds and had a block and an assist. He is still has some developing to do, but it was a good start to his career.

Morgan - (B+) Malik looked much better than last year making strides in his defensive game. He scored 10 points , had 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 18 solid minutes. He hit 2 of 4 from three point range.

Odo - (B) Odo had 11 rebounds and 0 points all in only 15 minutes of work. I was impressed with his speed down the court and his ability to find and locate rebounds.

Shortess - (A) In 4 minutes of action Henry hit 2 of 2 from three point range. He had a turnover keeping him away from A+ territory.

Overall, Tiger fans saw a squad that will be amazingly fun to watch. If you didn't go see them, don't miss it next time. Their first game is against UMASS on Tuesday.

Official Box Score
Filed Under: LSU Basketball


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