Monday, December 12, 2016

TV: SEC Network, LSU Tigers Host NCCU Eagles Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET at PMAC

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -- Exams are finally finished and a 14-day layoff will end Tuesday night at 8 p.m. as the 5-2 LSU Tigers host North Carolina Central University at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Tickets for the game are on sale at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office all day Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and online at Tickets will go on sale at the upper concourse windows of the Maravich Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. LSU students are admitted free of charge with a valid student ID.

The game will be broadcast on the LSU Sports Radio Network affiliates around Louisiana (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge) with the “Voice of the Tigers” Chris Blair and Henry Hays on the call. The audio is also available at The game will also be televised on the SEC Network with Matt Stewart and Jon Sundvold calling the action.

The Tigers are coming off a win in the game prior to the break which began after LSU soundly knocked off previously unbeaten Houston, 84-65, on Nov. 29 in the Maravich Center. The Tigers played perhaps their best overall half of basketball in shooting 58 percent in the second half (making 20-of-34 shots) while out rebounding Houston, 46-28 with 20 offensive rebounds. LSU posted a 23-8 advantage on second chance points and 46-26 on points in the paint.

Antonio Blakeney had 23 points to lead LSU, while Brandon Sampson hit four treys in scoring 16 points. Craig Victor II had 13 points and Aaron Epps scored 11 off the bench, hitting all five field goal attempts.

The Tigers will not be able to come out with an exam break sluggishness as North Carolina Central has shown its ability to play well in big-time road arenas with a win at Missouri this year and a six-point loss at Ohio State. Senior Patrick Cole has had big games in their last two outings last week, with 13 assists and 18 points in a 79-56 win against LIU-Brooklyn and 28 points in a 70-67 loss Saturday at Coastal Carolina.

LeVelle Moton is in his eighth season as the Eagles head coach with 20-plus win seasons in 2013, 2014 and 2015 reaching the NCAA second round in 2014. He is a former player at the school having graduated there in 1996.

Look for the Tigers to probably keep the same starting lineup from the Houston game with Jalyn Patterson at the point (4.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg) and Antonio Blakeney (15.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Brandon Sampson (11.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg) at the other two guard positions and Duop Reath (13.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.1 bpg) and Craig Victor II (7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) at the forward spots.

This will be the first of three home games in seven days for the Tigers and four games in 10 days, closing out the pre-Christmas schedule with a Dec. 22 game at Wake Forest. The Tigers open up Southeastern Conference play in December for the first time in many years on Dec. 29, hosting Vanderbilt.

LSU’s next action will be Saturday at 5 p.m. against Texas Southern in the Maravich Center.

Coach Johnny Jones met with the media earlier and here are his comments heading into the game:

Opening statement …
“We are certainly counting down the days until we have an opportunity to take the floor again against a very tough opponent in North Carolina Central. They have had some really good wins and some close defeats, one of them being by about five or six points at Ohio State. We have had a long layoff. It will have been 14 days to be exact before we have an opportunity to take the floor in a game, but our guys have done a good job in taking care of their studies, their finals. We have had some good practices, and we have had an opportunity to allow for some guys who were banged up with injuries to heal. We are looking forward to being full speed. We do know that coming off of a layoff like that sometimes you’re not as sharp. We (have tried) to make sure that our practices are simulated like games and at game speed and the pace we play. We try to make sure that we include some scrimmages in there as well. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily games and we know that it certainly will be different at that time. I certainly like the growth of this team. We like how we finished up in our last outing against a really tough, talented Houston team. We feel like we grew and a lot of good things happened. We are hopeful that
we can continue to build off of that at home having three games here before hitting the road again. We certainly hope that we put ourselves in position to continue to grow from that.”


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