In the aftermath of three huge victories this season, the LSU basketball team has proven over and over that it can’t stand prosperity.
Perhaps, on some occasions, the Tigers’ next opponent had something to do with that; LSU lost immediately after notching big wins against Michigan in the Maui Invitational, Houston at home and Memphis on the road that closed out its pre-Southeastern Conference schedule.
Perhaps it’s LSU’s fault, or maybe a combination of both.
Whatever it is, coach Will Wade wants (read: needs) his team to find it quickly after the Tigers grabbed their biggest win of the season Saturday, when Tremont Waters wiped out a five-point deficit in the final 12.4 seconds and helped LSU score a 69-68 upset of then-No. 11 Texas A&M.
Taking the momentum gained there to Wednesday’s 8 p.m. matchup with Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena, where Wade hopes to see a faster start than after their other three big wins, will be paramount if LSU wants to continue to make strides in its first season under Wade.
A faster start by LSU (10-4, 1-1 SEC) would be a huge plus against Arkansas (11-4, 1-2), because the Razorbacks have won 11 games in a row at home dating to last season and are 135-53 in conference play since 1993.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Will Wade had a confession to make Saturday afternoon.
While LSU has won its only two true road games at Memphis and A&M, Wade knows his team has to play better out of the gate than it did earlier this season after monumental wins.
LSU trailed Notre Dame 24-9 at the 8:52 mark of the first half after upending Michigan. The Tigers were outscored by Stephen F. Austin 21-11 in the final 5:43 of the first half after beating Houston. And they trailed No. 17 Kentucky by seven points just five minutes into their SEC opener a week ago after knocking off Memphis.
“Well, we haven’t been very good at it,” Wade said of trying to back up a big win with another strong performance. “So we’ve got to clamp down and get better and turn the page quickly, and play as well as we can at Arkansas.”
LSU scored the first 10 points at Texas A&M, but the Tigers went on a six-plus-minute scoring drought and watched the Aggies take a 12-10 lead — even though it ultimately went their way.
Wade wouldn’t mind seeing the Tigers repeat that fast start against a Razorbacks team that leads the SEC in scoring (88.5 points per game) and field-goal accuracy (50.5 percent), and is second in 3-point shooting (39.7 percent).
While they’ve struggled in back-to-back road losses against Mississippi State and Auburn, Wade knows what kind of team they are at home. Arkansas averages 95.0 points and shoot 53.7 percent from the field there.
In what was no surprise, especially to Texas A&M fans, LSU point guard Tremont Waters was named Monday the Southeastern Conference freshma…
“You know Arkansas can bury you — early, middle, late,” he said. “They can go on one of those 12-0 or 15-0 runs and you’re pretty much done. So we’ve got to do a good job making sure it doesn’t get away from us early.”
A large part of that job will fall to Waters, Skylar Mays and Daryl Edwards, who'll be tasked with combating a productive all-senior guard lineup that Arkansas coach Mike Anderson puts on the floor.
Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon and Anton Beard have combined for 47.3 points per game, accounting for 53.4 percent of their offense for the season.
The trio averages a shade under 50 points per game at home, where the crowd is close to the court and the noise can be deafening.
They also use that to their advantage on defense where full-court and half-court pressure has long been a program staple to speed up opposing offenses and force turnovers — 17.5 per game this season.
“Bud Walton Arena has a lot of history and the environment is the most hectic in the league, in my opinion,” Mays said. ”Those three guards are a big part of it and they play with an edge.”
“Any road game is tough. But it’s just going to be a tough environment up in Fayetteville, and we’ve got to get ourselves ready to go.”
WHAT: LSU at Arkansas
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville, Ark.
TV: SEC Network
RADIO: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWWL-AM, 1350; KLWB-FM, 103.7
UP NEXT: vs. Alabama, 7:30 p.m. Saturday (SEC Network)
• After having issues on defense early, LSU is sixth in points allowed in SEC play in giving up 71.0 a game.
• The Tigers are 10-0 so far this season when leading (8-0) or tied (2-0) going to the locker room for halftime.
• Since the 2015 season, Arkansas ranks second in the SEC with 35 league wins — with 20 coming at home.
LSU (10-4, 1-1 SEC)
Pos. Name Ht. Cl. Pts. Rebs.
G Tremont Waters 5-11 Fr. 17.4 6.0*
G Skylar Mays 6-4 So. 12.1 4.1
G Daryl Edwards 6-3 Jr. 7.1 3.6
F Aaron Epps 6-10 Sr. 10.2 6.2
F Duop Reath 6-11 Sr. 12.6 5.5
G Brandon Sampson 6-5 Jr. 7.9 2.9
F Wayde Sims 6-6 So. 7.1 3.6
G Randy Onwuasor 6-3 Sr. 4.2 1.7
Arkansas (11-4, 1-2 SEC)
Pos. Name Ht. Cl. Pts. Rebs.
G Jaylen Barford 6-3 Sr. 18.9 3.5*
G Daryl Macon 6-3 Sr. 16.7 3.8*
G Anton Beard 6-0 Sr. 11.7 2.7
F Dustin Thomas 6-8 Sr. 4.9 4.4
F Daniel Gafford 6-11 Fr. 12.0 6.1
F Trey Thompson 6-9 Sr. 3.3 4.1
F Adrio Bailey 6-6 So. 6.0 3.5
F Darious Hall 6-6 Fr. 4.5 2.7