Back home at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center following a weeklong road trip, the LSU men face South Alabama at 7 p.m. Wednesday looking to score their third straight win.
LSU went 2-1 in its first appearance at the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., rebounding from a narrow loss to Northwestern with victories over Western Kentucky and Georgia Tech. It began the string of away games with an 88-82 loss at Coastal Carolina.
“We sort of developed some consistency,” coach Trent Johnson said, “but going into the trip — going into this year — we thought we had a chance to be in games and beat quality people. We’re 3-2. We’d much rather be 5-0 or 4-1.”
Freshman point guard Anthony Hickey averaged 16 points at the Charleston Classic, including a 20-point performance in the final game against Georgia Tech. Junior center Justin Hamilton averaged 12 points and 7.7 rebounds in the three games.
In the loss to Northwestern, freshman forward Johnny O’Bryant III had 21 points and eight rebounds.
The solid showing in Charleston came after Coastal Carolina beat LSU 54-35 in rebounding, the key stat in its second victory over the Tigers in as many seasons.
“We wanted to prove to everyone we were better than that,” Hamilton said.
LSU, which handled Nicholls State at home Nov. 12 in the season opener, gets South Alabama to complete a two-year home-and-home series.
Last year in Mobile, the Tigers shot 53.2 percent from the field — including 70.6 percent from 3-point range — in an 80-65 win, improving to 2-0 against the Jaguars all-time.
South Alabama has gotten off to a rough start this season, sandwiching a victory over Mobile around lopsided losses to Mississippi State and Florida State. The Jaguars lack height with no starter taller than 6-foot-6, but sophomore Augustine Rubit (14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) averages a double-double.
“They’re very athletic. They’re very explosive,” Johnson said. “This is a team that can cause problems for you. We need to be ready to play. We need to be concerned about playing well and continuing to improve.”
The Tigers will not play again until traveling to face Houston on Tuesday. They will not play at home again until Boise State visits Dec. 10.