The LSU men’s basketball team is set to put its three-game Southeastern Conference winning streak on the line when it takes on Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Though the tilt with the Crimson Tide (14-8, 6-3 SEC) won’t exactly be the “Game of the Century,” it may be the game of LSU’s (13-7, 4-5 SEC) season. After starting conference play with a 1-5 record, the Tigers have churned out three straight victories to stay afloat in the SEC as they head into road matchups with Alabama and South Carolina.
“We just have to keep playing together,” said sophomore guard Anthony Hickey. “We won at Mississippi State, so that was a positive, to get a win on the road. Going to Alabama is another great experience, and [the crowd is] going to be a bit more alive and wild out there. Just going in and being focused, that’s the main part.”
LSU coach Johnny Jones downplayed the severity of the rivalry with Alabama, claiming the Crimson Tide is just another conference foe.
Alabama scored a season-low 37 points in its loss to in-state rival Auburn on Wednesday. Aside from 11-point individual performances from junior and sophomore guards Trevor Releford and Rodney Cooper, the rest of the Alabama squad scored a meager 15 points in the contest.
Jones said it will be important for the Tigers to keep their composure in the Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.
“The big deal is being poised under pressure and making sure that we make the right reads and the right plays,” Jones said. “I think if we do that, some great things can happen for us.”
LSU exhibited balance and depth in its victory against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, with 10 Tigers seeing the floor against the Commodores. LSU will look for similar performances to keep pace with the depth of the Crimson Tide, who have seven players that average more than 19 minutes per game.
Freshman guard Malik Morgan acknowledged the importance of the winning streak, but he also said there is plenty of room for improvement with nine games remaining in the season.
“We’re really excited right now,” Morgan said. “We’ve got three wins, but we’re just trying to keep adding on some more. ... We just need to stay focused on every little thing that we do and stick to our game plan.”
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