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LSU Basketball

More than Naz Reid for LSU inside

November 15, 2018

After scoring 46 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in LSU’s victories against Southeastern Louisiana and North Carolina-Greensboro, Naz Reid had a somewhat quiet night against Memphis.

Playing just 20 minutes, Reid accounted for 11 points and five rebounds in LSU’s 85-76 victory against Memphis. However, LSU’s post players still performed well without a major contribution from Reid.

Freshmen Emmitt Williams and Darius Days totaled 18 points and 16 rebounds. Williams and Days were a combined 7-of-11 from the field. Oregon transfer Kavell Bigby Williams finished with a career-high 14 points and four rebounds in just 17 minutes. Those three players combined for 13 offensive boards.

“Half of offensive rebounding is going (to the glass) every time,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “Our goal is to go to rebound 80 percent of the time. You put your shoulder in front of your opponent’s shoulder. If you do that enough, the ball with find you.”

Williams, who has two double-doubles already, will take an average of 10 points and eight rebounds into the Tigers’ game against Louisiana Tech at the PMAC on Friday (7 p.m. Central/SEC Digital Network). Days, who comes off the bench, is averaging nine points and four rebounds a game.

Bigby-Williams had never scored more than 11 points in a college game. He had that total while playing for Oregon against Savannah State two seasons ago. Bigby-Williams scored just nine points in LSU’s first two games. He made all seven of his field goal attempts against Memphis.

“Kavell had 19 points and six rebounds in one of our scrimmages,” Wade said. “So, he did the same type of thing against Memphis. Kavell brings great energy. He is an elite-level shot-blocker.

“Kavell is a little rusty after a year off. He had not been in a live game for a year. Kavell may not go 7-for-7 Friday. I told him that if he keeps bringing energy good things will happen.”

The Tigers have won their first three games on the strength of an offense which is averaging 92 points. LSU has scored at least 85 points in each of its first three games for the first time in 24 seasons.

“Scoring 85 points (against Memphis) without our two best guys (Reid and Tremont Waters) having big nights is good,” Wade said. “We still need to have better rhythm for what we are doing on offense. We have been clunky at times.

“Our spacing could be better. We wait around for other guys to get open instead of moving. We have also turned the ball over too much in the last two games (31). We need to handle the ball better.”

Of course, Wade is far more concerned about his team’s defense. The three LSU opponents have made 36 shots from behind the 3-point line. The Tigers are allowing the opposition to make 46 percent of their field goal attempts while giving up 77 points per game.

“We are attacking our defensive issues,” Wade said. “We are having problems with pick-and-pop stretch ‘4s’. Louisiana Tech has two of them. Giving up 3-pointers is going to catch up to us. We will not be learning from wins too much longer if that doesn’t change.

“Our ball screen defense is coming. Now, we just can’t let teams run to the rim in transition. If a player makes a mistake once, I can live with that. If a player makes a mistake over and over again, it is my fault. You fix that by getting the player to the bench.”

Like LSU, Louisiana Tech has won its first three games – on the road against Wichita State and at home against Sam Houston State and Harding College. Point guard DaQuan Bracey, who had 16 points in the victory against Wichita, has missed the last two games with an injury. Wade expects him to play Friday.

“Louisiana Tech just beat Wichita,” Wade said. “They were up the whole game. Nobody had an out-of-body experience where he made six or eight 3s. They were more physical than Wichita. They rebounded well and guarded well.

“We have to guard them without fouling. Louisiana Tech has made 58 free throws, while its opponents have attempted 57. One-third of their scoring comes from the free throw line. They also do a great job on the offensive glass. Their guards are tough.”

Three starters other than Bracey are double-figure scorers – wing Amorie Archibald (12.7), post player Anthony Duruji (10.3) and wing Exavian Christon (10.0). Backup post player Mubarak Muhammed is averaging 11 points per game. Muhammad and Archibald are averaging more than six boards per game.


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