Will Wade was anything but a happy camper Thursday.
Nearly 48 hours removed from his LSU basketball team’s exhibition loss at Tulane on Tuesday, the Tigers coach was still fuming from their performance on both ends of the floor in an 84-74 setback.
Even though it was only an exhibition game, Wade vowed that changes are forthcoming for an offense that shot 36.4 percent from the field — 29.3 percent in the first half — and a defense that watched Tulane knock down 54.2 percent of its shots in the game.
Wade was most disappointed in his defense.
Tulane, which scored 37 points in the first half, piled up 47 more in the final 20 minutes to hold off LSU even though the Tigers shot a little better after halftime to make things interesting — getting within three points with just under five minutes to play.
“We didn’t play particularly well defensively … very disappointing,” Wade said. “It was just a poor, poor outing defensively, and we’ve got a ton of stuff to work on there.”
But the defense wasn’t the only problem.
“We took some poor, poor shots, and our movement wasn’t very good,” he said. “We tried to do too much off the bounce and did not have enough assists. So we’ve got a lot of stuff to work on."
Wade noted there’s not a lot of time to get the miscues corrected considering his team will meet Texas in a closed-door scrimmage Saturday before opening the regular season Nov. 10 against Alcorn State.
He pointed the finger at himself, saying he’s self-critical and should be the first one to blame when things go wrong.
“Part of the problem is I’m playing some of the wrong guys,” he said. “We have been trying some of these guys, hoping they’d come around defensively, and the experiments are over.
“We’re going to play different guys, play some different lineups, and we’re going to give some other guys a chance. We have some guys who have a history with not being able to guard. That’s been well documented, so I’m the idiot to keep trying these combinations.”
Wade hopes to get a boost from the return of forward Jeremy Combs, who has been cleared medically after having ankle surgery in September, and forward Aaron Epps, who has been out 10 days with a foot injury. Wade said Epps is out of his walking boot and could return to practice soon.
Wade said the Tigers, who had a day off Wednesday, were told what to expect going forward in a 6 a.m. Thursday film session before an afternoon practice.
“This was all stuff we’ve taught for six months, and we had huge breakdowns,” he said. “That’s going to change. We’re going to give some of these other guys a chance.
“It can’t be any worse. We gave up 84 points, so it’s not going to be any worse. They’re all well aware of how I feel and who I think needs to be a little bit better in what specific areas.”
Wade was just as unhappy with the way his team attacked Tulane’s defense.
The three point guards he used combined for four assists, and LSU was just 4-of-24 on 3-pointers for 16.7 percent.
Wade said he wasn’t displeased with the number of long-range shots the Tigers put up. But, he said, several of them were contested when they could have looked inside to 6-foot-11 forward Duop Reath.
Reath led the team with 21 points and 13 rebounds.
“Six or seven were shots that we didn’t want to have any fortitude in getting into the paint and make something happen,” Wade said. “So we settled for the path of least resistance, which was to hoist up the longest 3 we could hoist up.”
Wade said his team now knows it’ll play an inside-out game with Reath down low. The perimeter players will have to take the shot if opponents double Reath, whom he called the Tigers’ best offensive option at this point.
“It’s been communicated to the whole team where the ball is going to go,” Wade said in an assuring tone. “They’re all well aware of where the ball’s going to go.”