CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Virgin Islands — On their fifth day at the Paradise Jam, the LSU basketball team will finally get a chance to enjoy their trip to the Caribbean — sort of.
After playing back-to-back games, which included Saturday night’s 72-58 victory over Weber State, LSU will have a little time to relax Sunday even though they’ll be back on the court for a 5 p.m. practice.
The players, who have been busy with game preparations and practice as well as study hall to get their class work done since arriving Wednesday night, will have some time off for a boat trip around St. Thomas before their workout.
“They have done a great job,” coach Johnny Jones said. “They’ve really approached it as a business trip, but they’ll get a chance to enjoy some of the island festivities (Sunday). They have done a lot in study hall and had a lot of time for their academics.”
LSU brought academic advisor Ericka Lavender along on the trip to help the players compensate for missing five days of school work.
Back on track
Even though they didn’t get many opportunities, LSU connected on five of six free-throw attempts against Weber State after a minislump at the stripe that saw the Tigers make 22 of their past 37 attempts going into Saturday’s game.
LSU was 22-of-25 from the free-throw line in its season opener with Gardner-Webb and in regulation of the Texas Tech game before struggling in overtime against the Red Raiders.
The Tigers were 6-of-12 in the overtime and 16-of-25 in Friday night’s 70-61 loss to Old Dominion, but they bounced back against Weber State.
A halftime lead
For the first time this season, LSU had the lead going into the locker room, taking a 28-27 halftime lead against Weber State.
The Tigers trailed Gardner-Webb (43-42), Texas Tech (36-24) and Old Dominion (33-30) at the break in their first three games.
Foul trouble plus
LSU freshman guard Jalyn Patterson committed three fouls in 10 minutes of playing time in the first half.
While that’s not entirely shocking, all three came in an 11-second span in the final 91 seconds of the half. Patterson’s third foul put Weber State in the bonus, and Joel Bolomboy hit both ends of a one-and-one to cut LSU’s lead to 28-25.
Epps gets court time
After not playing on Friday night, freshman forward Aaron Epps checked into Saturday’s game in the second half.
Jones said after Friday night’s game he didn’t use Epps because of matchups, but Epps logged three minutes against Weber State and had no stats.
LSU’s win over Weber State gave the Tigers a 2-1 edge in the all-time series.
They split their first two meetings with LSU winning 82-80 in Logan, Utah, in 1972, and Weber State getting even with a 75-74 overtime victory in 2001 in Hilo, Hawaii.
After a day off Sunday, LSU will wrap up play in the Paradise Jam on Monday against Clemson in the fourth-place game at 3 p.m. CST. Clemson, which lost to Gardner-Webb on Friday night, defeated Nevada 59-50 earlier Saturday.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.