The LSU Tigers try to wrap up their three-game road trip in a difficult location on Saturday when they face Marquette at 1 p.m. on ESPNU at the Bradley Center in the first game of a day-night college basketball/NBA doubleheader in the building.
Anthony Hickey is working his way back into the lineup for the Tigers
LSU (7-1) is coming off a 66-60 win in the second game of the road trip on Tuesday, while Marquette fell to 7-3 with a 49-47 loss in the Golden Eagles first ever visit to Green Bay on Wednesday night.
LSU began its road trip on Thursday, Dec. 13 for a Dec. 14 game at Boise which the Broncos won, 89-70.
The Tigers then traveled to Irvine, Calif., on Dec. 15 before playing the game on Dec. 18. The team returned home after an all-day flight on Dec. 19 and took to the air on a charter flight Friday morning for the final game of this road trip, arriving to the leftover snow from Thursday’s storm mid-Friday afternoon.
”I think (Marquette) is a very good basketball program,” said LSU head coach Johnny Jones. “Anytime you go on the road, it's always a challenge for you like it was last year for them being a top-10 team. I think this year being back at their place will obviously be a huge challenge for us.”
This marks the third time LSU and the Golden Eagles have played in this the back half of a home-and-home set that began last year in 2011 in Baton Rouge when LSU won 67-59 when Marquette was ranked 10th in the country.
In the only other meeting, MU won a battle, 101-79, in 1970 in the semifinals of the NIT at Madison Square Garden.
Andre Stringer led LSU in the Irvine win with 19 points, while Shavon Coleman had his third double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Johnny O’Bryant III added nine points and a career high 13 rebounds.
Marquette junior forward Jamil Wilson led the way offensively with 16 points at Green Bay, making 6-of-10 from the floor on a night when Marquette shot from 38 percent from the floor.
But in returning to the 18,000-seat Bradley Center, Marquette returns to the court where the Golden Eagles have a present 14-game winning streak.
Guard Todd Mayo, a 6-3, sophomore has not played this season after being academically ineligible for the fall semester, but he is expected to be in uniform for Marquette Saturday.
“They are a very balanced basketball team in terms of their guard play,” said Jones. “They are a very physical basketball team inside. That will be a huge challenge for us, how will we combat them and deal with their inside play because of the depth that they have there.
“They also have experience at the guard spot. But again, I think it will be another great challenge for our team prior to getting into conference play. You are talking about another real quality basketball team in Marquette. We are excited about it, and look forward to Saturday afternoon."
LSU sophomore guard Anthony Hickey played more minutes at Irvine in his second game back from his week-long suspension and he scored 10 points in the contest. Coach Jones emphasized in his media session on Thursday that the Kentucky native must continue to work hard to regain his spot as a starter at point guard.
"It is not disciplinary; I think it's just a matter of him working his way back up and getting himself back into the starting lineup,” said Jones. “He has to work his way to that spot. I think his minutes have shown that he is playing well, and back in good grace.
“But we're just not handing out rewards. I think if he continues to work hard, some good things will happen for him. I'm glad that he's been able to make that adjustment and not let whether or not he starts affect his game, and it hasn't."
The Tigers will take a short break for the Christmas holiday following the Marquette contest and will return to practice on the evening of Dec. 26. LSU’s next game is at home on Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. against Houston Baptist.