Members of the LSU men’s basketball team can’t say that coach Will Wade isn’t a man of his word.
He proved it late Tuesday night in the wake of the Tigers’ huge road win against No. 18 Ole Miss in The Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi.
The arena was packed with 10,000 loud fans who showed up to watch the Rebels, off to a 3-0 Southeastern Conference start, extend their winning streak of 10 games — the program’s longest in 11 seasons.
Instead, the evening ended with Wade, whose team hosts South Carolina (9-7, 4-0 SEC) at 5 p.m. Saturday, dancing in the locker room after an 83-69 victory for LSU (13-3, 3-0).
The celebration was warranted: LSU's 14-point win was the program’s largest margin of victory in a true road game over a ranked foe.
Because South Carolina is also undefeated in the league, along with No. 3 Tennessee, Wade’s attention quickly turned to the Gamecocks.
But, he admitted Thursday, the locker-room scene in Oxford was fun while it lasted.
“They were playing music when I got in the locker room to give my final pregame speech,” Wade said. “They wanted me to dance then and I said, ‘Let’s win a game and then I’ll dance.’
"I’m a man of my word.”
OXFORD, Miss. — Taking a deeper dive into some mundane-looking numbers made a difference for the LSU men’s basketball team in its 83-69 win ov…
After the Tigers’ sixth consecutive victory and eighth win in nine games, Wade let loose in a video that, not surprisingly, quickly made its way to social media.
Taking control early in the second half and maintaining a comfortable lead over the game’s final 10 minutes in front of a hostile crowd pleased Wade most.
“It was as good of an environment that we’ve won in,” he said. “That was the first time since I have been here that we were able to impose our will on somebody … just kind of sucked the life out of them.
“That’s what you’ve got to do if you’re going to be a good program, an elite program — you’ve got to be able to squeeze the juice out of them,” Wade added. “We were able to do that, and I was very excited about that.”
By the time Wade and his team got on the plane for the late-night return trip home, however, it was time to think about resurgent South Carolina.
Frank Martin’s team was 5-7 in nonconference play with a 20-point loss to Wofford but has pulled off three shockers since league play began.
Two of the Gamecocks’ losses in December were to Michigan and Virginia, who are ranked second and fourth, respectively, in the AP poll.
But South Carolina has been a different team since the calendar turned to 2019 with road wins at Florida (71-69) and Vanderbilt (74-71) and home wins over No. 14 Mississippi State (87-82, overtime) and Missouri (85-75).
OXFORD, Miss. — In its last outing at Arkansas, defense was a major problem for the LSU men’s basketball team.
Wade noted Thursday that South Carolina won after being 14 points down at Florida and prevailed after trailing by 12 at Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.
“His teams play with an edge,” he said. “You’ve got to stomp them out because they don’t go away. … That’s his personality. That’s how his teams play, and that’s why they’ve been successful and are 4-0 in the league.
“They’re tough, they’re physical, they change defenses,” added Wade, whose team has won 16 home games in a row. “Typical Frank Martin team. It will be a very, very difficult matchup here at home.
A big frontline that includes 6-foot-11 Maik Kotsar and 6-9 Chris Silva, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick, helped Carolina to an 83-74 overtime win over LSU last February in Columbia.
The Gamecocks overpowered the Tigers 11-2 in overtime to win going away.
Of course, LSU is better equipped now to take on physical teams with 6-foot-11 forward Kavell Bigby-Williams, who scored 14 and added 10 rebounds and five blocks at Ole Miss, and 6-10 forward Naz Reid.
“They’re a very physical team,” said Bigby-Williams, who didn’t play last year at South Carolina while redshirting. “Coach Martin’s teams always have tough matchups.
“If it’s our bigs against their bigs down there, it could be a very good matchup.”
WHAT: South Carolina at LSU
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Pete Maravich Assembly Center
TV: SEC Network
RADIO: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 1350; KLWB-FM, 103.7
UP NEXT: vs. Georgia, 6 p.m. Wednesday (SEC Network)
• LSU leads the SEC in conference play in 3-point field-goal accuracy at 49.2 percent (29 of 59) and also is first in 3-point field-goal defense at 26.5 percent (18 of 68).
• In his past six games, LSU sophomore point guard Tremont Waters is averaging 17.5 points and 7.8 assists a game. He's hit 46.2 percent from the field in that stretch.
• Waters needs three assists to get to 300 in what will be his 50th career game, while Skylar Mays needs one assist for 250 and one 3-point shot to reach 100 for his career.
South Carolina (9-7, 4-0 SEC)
Pos. Name Ht. Cl. Pts. Rebs.
G A.J. Lawson 6-6 Fr. 13.3 3.1*
G Tre Campbell 6-0 Sr. 5.7 1.7
F Keyshawn Bryant 6-6 Fr. 9.7 3.7
F Chris Silva 6-9 Sr. 12.2 6.6
F Maik Kotsar 6-11 Jr. 8.7 5.4
G Hassani Gravett 6-2 Sr. 11.7 2.2*
F Felipe Haase 6-9 So. 6.9 3.9
F Alanzo Frink 6-6 Fr. 4.0 3.0
LSU (13-3, 3-0 SEC)
Pos. Name Ht. Cl. Pts. Rebs.
G Tremont Waters 5-11 So. 13.6 6.2*
G Skylar Mays 6-4 Jr. 13.3 3.4
G Marlon Taylor 6-5 Jr. 7.2 3.2
F Naz Reid 6-10 Fr. 12.9 5.4
F Kavell Bigby-Williams 6-11 Sr. 7.3 5.1
G Ja’vonte Smart 6-4 Fr. 10.3 2.4*
F Emmitt Williams 6-6 Fr. 8.4 6.3
F Darius Days 6-6 Fr. 6.3 4.6