Another road test for LSU, and another loss. For the second straight game LSU looked out classed on offense. LSU only made 24 of 70 field goal attempts. That is what i like to call “Jefferson” efficiency. Like the Alabama game, LSU’s players got into foul trouble early and had to play bench players over an extended period of time.
A positive is the game was much more competitive than Wednesday night. In the first half the largest lead was only five points (Arkansas). The game went back and forth and both teams look horrible, but then Arkansas caught fire. LSU led 33-32 with 18:24 left in the second half, then Arkansas went on a 9-0 run and never looked back. LSU never trailed more than nine points, but continued to settle on questionable jump shoots. LSU was without Storm Warren and Ralston Turner for much of the game due to fouls, forcing LSU to play a zone defense. The zone did not work, Arkansas shot 9 of 18 from three point range, and was the difference in the game.
Speaking of Ralston Turner, what happened to this guy? He finally seemed to have a great game against Marquette, but since then he has been unnoticeable. Last night Turner was one of eight from the field for a whooping two points. Turners biggest problem seems to be that he has fallen in love with jump shots. With his size and ability, he should be driving to the hole and try to get to the free throw line, or dish it off to the big men once the defense starts to collapse. Instead, Turner is losing a game of H.O.R.S.E with himself.
Turner isn’t the only player struggling. Andre Stinger and Storm Warren also had night they would like to forget. Stringer was only four of 13 shooting, but when you account that most of his shots are from 25 feet or farther, maybe that isn’t so bad. Warren was only one of six shooting. How is that even possible? Poor shot selection. Warren has never seen a shot he did not like. Even though he was in foul trouble and his minutes were limited, he still was able to get a few shots up that made me shake my head.
Catching a theme. What is Trent Johnson doing to address this? LSU is playing great defense and is out rebounding their opponents most nights. The problem is on the offense. At times they are playing like they only have ten seconds to get a shot off. Making matters worse, Arkansas pressed LSU most of the night, usually this defense makes shot selection easier to navigate…
The lack of production from the rest of the team is overshadowing the great play of Justin Hamilton and Anthony Hickey. Hamilton bounced back from a bad game at Alabama, and scored a team high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Hickey continues to fill the stat sheet. He added 12 points, four rebounds, three assist and three steals. The play of these two can not go unnoticed and they are the reason for the success of the team.
LSU has hit a wall as it completed its first week of conference play. No need to jump of the bandwagon just yet. The loss just proves that this young team has a ways to go. LSU fall to 11-6 (1-2 in SEC) and will host Auburn on Wednesday night. If they struggle in this game, it might be time panic.