Start time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Broadcast: SEC Network
Live stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: 107.5 The Game
Coming off a long trip out to Columbia west, and bringing home with them a 10 point win over Missouri, #19 South Carolina makes it’s way to Baton Rouge to take on the SEC’s other Tigers as they eye back-to-back conference road wins Wednesday night.
Head coach Johnny Jones’ LSU basketball program is in what some would call a transition year, coping with the loss of #1 NBA Draft pick Ben Simmons. The Tigers are off to a rough 1-7 start in the SEC, and sitting at 9-11 overall on the year, could use the jolt of an upset win to gain some momentum entering the final month of the regular season. Enter the nationally ranked South Carolina Gamecocks.
Much like what we saw Saturday night against Missouri, expect Frank Martin’s squad to come in looking to win the game with their defensive pressure, as they aim to shut down a slightly more potent LSU offense. After all, it’s a strategy the Gamecocks use pretty much every time they step onto the court, boasting a top five defensive field goal percentage for opponents. They might not have the same success against these Tigers though, as LSU’s weakness doesn’t lie in lighting up the scoreboard, but rather preventing the other team to do so. While LSU averages right around 75 points per game, they give up just over 80 to opponents.
The Tigers offense is fueled by sophomore point guard Antionio Blankeney’s 16.8 points per outing, as he has taken over most of the team’s production given the departure of Simmons. Fellow guard Brandon Sampson and forwards Duop Reath and Craig Victor round out the majority of LSU offensive fire power.
South Carolina has been led by senior guard Sindarius Thornwell since his return from suspension, so it would be a refreshing sight to see one of the other Gamecock guards step up and lead the way tonight. None other may be better primed than point guard P.J. Dozier, who is looking for a bounce back game after one of his more lousy performances Saturday night, logging only 23 minutes on the court, while struggling to take care of the ball and get the Gamecocks offense flowing.
While we’re sure to see the same intense defensive effort out of South Carolina we’ve seen all year, it may not be enough to limit the Tigers, who are looking to end their current seven game losing streak. Frank Martin’s Gamecocks may have to rely on an equal amount of production offensively to keep this season’s conference success rolling and the Tigers out of the win column.