Looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season, the LSU men’s basketball team jumps back into action Thursday as the Tigers begin play in the Charleston Classic.
LSU opens the eight-team, three-day event at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C., against Northwestern. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. CST with ESPNU providing the coverage.
“We’re obviously going to be playing some good basketball teams,” LSU coach Trent Johnson said. “There’s no question the guys are fired up about playing in this tournament.”
The Tigers had little time to shake off a 71-63 loss at Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night.
A two-hour bus ride after the game took the team from Conway to Charleston, where preparations for the Charleston Classic quickly began. The Tigers had a shoot-around at TD Arena on Wednesday morning and practiced for one hour at The Citadel in the afternoon.
Depending on how its side of the bracket shakes out, LSU will face either Western Kentucky or Tulsa on Friday. LSU’s final game at the tournament will be Sunday against Georgia Tech, St. Joseph’s, Virginia Commonwealth or Seton Hall from the opposite side of the bracket.
The championship game is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, also on ESPNU. Previous tournament winners include Georgetown, Miami and Clemson.
“We have a great understanding of what went on last night,” Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge Northwestern poses for us.”
Northwestern returns nine letter-winners, including four starters, from a team that reached 20 wins last season for the second year in a row. The Wildcats advanced to the NIT for the third straight year, coming within an overtime loss at Washington State from reaching the semifinals.
Senior forward John Shurna, a third-team All-Big Ten selection, initially declared for the NBA draft without hiring an agent but announced in May he would return for his senior year.
“They were a bubble team last year and probably should have been an NCAA tournament team,” Johnson said. “They won’t be a bubble team this year if they remain healthy.”
Northwestern opened the season with a 60-36 victory over Texas-Pan American on Sunday.
Shurna, one of three Northwestern scorers in double figures, had 15 points, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
“They’re always going to be extremely well-coached,” Johnson said. “They’re always going to take advantage of your inability to be disciplined on the defensive end because they pass, they cut and they run the Princeton stuff to a T. They’re very skilled and very battle-tested.”
Johnson hopes LSU can get back on track after watching Coastal Carolina outrebound the Tigers 53-34 and limit them to 35.4 percent shooting from the field.
LSU led 18-9 early, but Coastal finished the first half on a 25-6 run and never trailed after intermission.
LSU VS. NORTHWESTERN
WHEN: 2 p.m. Thursday.
WHERE: Carolina First Arena, Charleston, S.C.
RADIO: WTGE-FM, 100.7.
RECORDS: LSU 1-1, Northwestern 1-0.
LAST MEETING/SERIES: Northwestern 92, LSU 86, Dec. 30, 1965; Northwestern leads 2-1.
UP NEXT: LSU vs. Tulsa or Western Kentucky, Friday at the Charleston Classic in Charleston.
C Justin Hamilton 7-0 Jr.
F Storm Warren 6-7 Sr.
G Ralston Turner 6-6 So.
G Anthony Hickey 5-11 Fr.
G Andre Stringer 5-9 So.
F Johnny O’Bryant 6-9 Fr.
F Eddie Ludwig 6-9 Jr.
G John Isaac 6-3 Fr.
C Luka Mirkovic 6-11 Sr.
F John Shurna 6-9 Sr.
F Reggie Hearn 6-4 Jr.
G Tre Demps 6-2 Fr.
G Dave Sobolewski 6-1 Fr.
G/F Drew Crawford 6-5 Jr.
G Alex Marcotullio 6-3 Jr.
F Davide Curletti 6-9 Sr.