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LSU Basketball

LSU focus must be only on Texas A&M

February 25, 2019
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LSU’s memorable and improbable two-point victory against Tennessee is now more than 48 hours ago.

In a little more than 24 hours, the Tigers have their next Southeastern Conference game when Texas A&M comes to the PMAC (8 p.m. Central/ESPN2). If LSU is going to remain in a first-place tie with Tennessee and Kentucky, it cannot afford an upset at the hands of the Aggies.

Obviously, Tigers coach Will Wade is once again stressing to his players that they must be focused on the task at hand – the matchup with Texas A&M, which has won four of its last five games.

Wade must follow his own instructions to his players.

Just prior to his meeting Monday with members of the media, a Yahoo Sports report indicated that representatives of Wade had been sent preliminary notifications that he will be subpoenaed to testify in the federal basketball corruption trial in late April.

Arizona coach Sean Miller was also named as a person who will be subpoenaed to testify in the trial. Both Wade and Miller were known to be on federal wiretaps talking to Christian Dawkins, an agent runner who was found guilty of federal fraud charges in a basketball corruption trial last October.

LSU officials had no comment for the situation involving Wade. However, Wade made a brief comment during his media session when asked.

“I just saw (Yahoo report) when I was walking in here,” Wade said. “I had not heard anything about it until then. I am staying focused on our guys. I am focused on my team. My focus is on Texas A&M.”

The Tigers are on the verge of earning their first NCAA tournament in four seasons. Moreover, LSU has a chance of winning its first SEC championship in ten years. The Tigers will get no worse than a tie for the title and will be the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament by winning their final four games.

“I am not talking about winning the league with our players,” Wade said. “They know what’s going on. It’s a game-by-game thing. We have to stay hungry and desperate. We have to protect our home court Tuesday building off our big win Saturday.”

What made the 82-80 victory against the Volunteers so unexpected was the fact that point guard Tremont Waters was not at the PMAC because of an illness. In addition, post player Naz Reid scored just one point. Wade is not sure if Waters will be able to go against Texas A&M.

“First, there is no rift between Tremont and me,” Wade said. “He’s our point guard. He’s our guy. Hopefully, we’ll have him back sooner than later.

“Tremont was better (Sunday) and he is better today. He could be at practice today. He has not yet been evaluated. I don’t know yet if Tremont is progressing to where he can play Tuesday night.”

Javonte Smart, Waters’ replacement, was spectacular against Tennessee. Smart had a season-high 29 points with five assists and five rebounds. He committed no turnovers in the second half and the overtime period.

“Certainly, that game was a big boost for Javonte,” Wade said. “But, he doesn’t really need it. Javonte is not lacking for confidence. That game was the next step for him.”

Texas A&M has climbed within two games of .500 for the season with its recent hot streak. Two of the Aggies’ last four victories came on the road – against Missouri and Arkansas. Texas A&M also won a road game against Alabama earlier this season.

Three Aggies starters are averaging in double figures – wing Wendell Mitchell (13.4), post player Savion Flagg (12.8) and point guard TJ Starks (12.6). Flagg is grabbing eight rebounds and Starks is handing out four assists per game. LSU pulled away in the second half for a 72-57 victory in College Station.

“Texas A&M is shooting the ball well,” Wade said. “They are playing better. Texas A&M is a young group which had to adjust to playing without (Admon) Gilder.”

Wade admitted that every game down the stretch is important for every team in the SEC.

“Every game is a big game now,” Wade said. “There are high stakes and a lot on the line for both teams. Everybody is playing for something. Texas A&M is playing for a bye (in the SEC tournament).”

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