L-S-U (17-12) at Auburn (14-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 3, 2:00 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,121) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: CBS. Home Record: LSU 11-4, Auburn 13-3. Away Record: LSU 4-7, Auburn 1-10. Neutral Record: LSU 2-1, Auburn 0-2. Conference Record: LSU 7-8, Auburn 4-11. Series Record: LSU leads, 82-62.
GAME NOTES: The LSU Tigers make a last-ditch effort to improve their standing for the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament, taking to the road for a league tilt against Auburn.
LSU dropped a heart-breaker at home to Tennessee Wednesday as the Volunteers pulled out a 74-69 win in overtime. The Tigers never trailed until Cameron Tatum dropped in a three-ball to open the extra session, as the Volunteers completed a rousing comeback from down 15. UT's Trae Golden came up with a clutch three-point play to break a tie with 1:27 remaining in OT and went on to go 6-for-6 at the foul line to seal the win. LSU shot 42.9 percent from the field overall compared to Tennessee's 51.0-percent shooting clip. Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 17 points for the hosts, while Anthony Hickey and Johnny O'Bryant III had 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Tigers have now lost back-to-back games on the heels of a four-game win streak, dropping into a tie for sixth in the SEC alongside Mississippi State and Ole Miss at 7-8.
Auburn gave rival Alabama all it could handle Wednesday before the Crimson Tide buckled down for a 55-49 home triumph. The Tigers stuck close to the Tide throughout until the hosts put things away at the free-throw line with a 6- for-8 showing over the final 1:23. The Crimson Tide needed to hit their free throws, and did (24-for-32) on a night where they shot just 31.1 percent from the field. Auburn shot 41.7 percent from the floor but made just 5-of-12 at the charity stripe and went 4-for-21 from long distance. Kenny Gabriel came up with 10 points and 11 rebounds to finish as the only player in double figures for the visitors. The loss saw Auburn fall to 4-11 in SEC play having dropped six of seven games overall.
LSU notched a 65-58 overtime victory over Auburn Jan. 17 in Baton Rouge and own a solid 82-62 lead in the all-time set. However, Auburn has captured four of the last six meetings. The teams split last year's season series with a pair of road wins as LSU took home a 62-55 win at Auburn Arena. With the win, LSU cut Auburn's lead at home in this series to just 34-33.
LSU has a good makeup in striking an effective balance between offense and defense. The Tigers put up 65.8 points per game but on only 40.9 percent shooting while opponents average 63.5 ppg on a 41.6 shooting percentage. The junior Hamilton leads the team in both scoring at 13.3 ppg and rebounding with 7.3 per contest. Andre Stringer slots in next at 10.3 ppg while Hickey provides 9.2 ppg and a team-leading 3.7 assists. Ralston Turner chips in with his 8.7-point average and is tied with Hickey for the team-lead in three- pointers with 41 on 35.7 percent shooting. Hickey hits at a 32.3-percent rate from beyond while Stringer has 36 threes but on a lowly 29.8 shooting percentage. The Tigers manage a decent edge on the boards at 37.0-36.0 with the freshman O'Bryant III kicking in 6.7 rpg and senior Storm Warren 5.1 rpg. Both O'Bryant add Warren add further depth with 8.5 and 8.3-point averages, respectively.
Auburn's offense has good balance as well but is not one to pile up the points. Junior Frankie Sullivan leads the effort at 12.2 ppg and serves as the team's best three-point shooter with 58 on 33.1 percent shooting. Gabriel checks in at 12.1 ppg and leads the team in rebounding with 7.7 per contest. Varez Ward and Chris Denson add some depth at 9.0 and 8.5 ppg, respectively, while Rob Chubb kicks in 8.2 ppg and 5.0 boards. Overall, Auburn puts up just 62.8 ppg on 42.0 percent shooting while the defense tries its best to make those numbers stand up at 64.2 points allowed and a 41.0 shooting percentage against. The Tigers are also outrebounded by the slightest of margins (35.0-34.3).
LSU has a lot more riding on this matchup and has shown an ability to compete with the SEC's better teams. Auburn is really struggling right now, but figure to keep things close in its last home game of the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 61, Auburn 57
03/03 10:37:22 ET