FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Already a man down after guard Keith Hornsby aggravated his hernia injury in Saturday’s game at Tennessee, the LSU basketball team was without two other scholarship players for Tuesday’s crucial Southeastern Conference game with Arkansas.
Forward Aaron Epps came down with the flu and was left behind when the Tigers departed Baton Rouge on Monday afternoon. Also, center Elbert Robinson became ill Tuesday and was a pregame scratch.
That meant LSU coach Johnny Jones had only nine scholarship players that have seen appreciable playing time this season available for the matchup with Arkansas.
Epps, usually the third man off the bench for Jones, is averaging 4.0 points and 1.9 rebounds, while Robinson gets 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds a game.
Jones had only two other frontcourt players — 6-foot-5 forward Brian Bridgewater and 7-0 center Darcy Malone — to plug in when starters Ben Simmons and Craig Victor needed a break.
Make it a dozen
With Hornsby sitting the game out, Jones inserted sophomore Jalyn Patterson into the starting lineup.
Patterson was joined by fellow guards Tim Quarterman, Antonio Blakeney, Simmons and Victor. They became the 12th different starting combination to be used by Jones this season.
Patterson, who started 11 games earlier this season, came off the bench for the last four when Blakeney rejoined the starting lineup.
When Malone checked in at the first official timeout with 14:14 to play in the first half, giving Victor a break, it was the first time he had been on the court in exactly one month.
Malone last played in a Jan. 23 game at Alabama and logged seven minutes that day. He didn’t score, but he had three rebounds in 18 minutes against Arkansas.
Hornsby limbers up
Dressed in a long-sleeve T-shirt and purple warmup pants, Hornsby came out onto the court while the Tigers were going through their pregame stretch.
He dribbled a ball and took a few easy shots while standing flat on the floor, then threw passes from the top of the key to his teammates during shooting drills. ESPN announcers said during the telecast Hornsby told them Tuesday he heard a pop when he was injured in the Tennessee game.
LSU junior guard Henry Shortess, a former walk-on who was awarded a scholarship last month by Jones, turned 21 Tuesday. Shortess played his high school ball at University High.
-- Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.