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Opening Tip: LSU at Florida

Opening Tip will be posted about five hours before each game this season.

General Info

  • What: LSU (13-4, 2-2 SEC) at Florida (10-7, 3-1 SEC)
  • When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
  • Where: O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida
  • All-time series: LSU leads 60-43
  • Last meeting: Florida 79, LSU 61 (at Gainesville, March 1, 2014)
  • TV: ESPN
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will play at Vanderbilt on Saturday at 5 p.m. (ESPNU)

Starting Five

  • TOUGH ON TIGERS: Florida has won its last six matchups against LSU with three of those wins coming in the O’Connell Center. The Tigers haven’t won on the UF campus since Feb. 13, 2008 when they took an 85-73 victory under interim coach Butch Pierre.
  • GET HIM TO THE LINE: LSU wants to get forward Jarell Martin to the free-throw line more after he’s had just 10 attempts from the stripe in his four SEC games. Martin is 64-of-89 this season (71.9 percent) and has 28 more attempts and 21 more makes than any other player on the roster.
  • DISHING THEM OUT: LSU point guard Josh Gray, who missed two games with a sprained ankle in December, is averaging 6.4 assists a game in his last five outings — racking up 21 in the last three games alone. He’s tied for second in the SEC with 5.2 per game for the season.
  • SHORT BENCH: LSU used seven players Saturday against Texas A&M, the fewest coach Johnny Jones has called on this season. In addition to starters Jordan Mickey, Keith Hornsby, Darcy Malone, Martin and Gray, the only players to leave the bench were Tim Quarterman and Jalyn Patterson.
  • STREAK SNAPPED: Florida will likely be mad after having its 24-game SEC winning streak end with a 73-61 setback at Georgia on Saturday. It was the second-longest streak in the SEC in 50 years; Kentucky had a 26-game winning streak in 1995 and ’96.

Know Your Opponent

  • Picked to finish second in the SEC in the preseason off a Final Four appearance a year ago, Florida played a tough nonconference schedule and was 7-6 entering league play. The record was understandable, however, as three of the losses were to North Carolina, Kansas and UConn. While lots of people gave up on them, they’re 3-1 in the league after a 73-61 loss at Georgia on Saturday. Forward Dorian Finney-Smith and guard Michael Frazier both average more than 13 points with Finney-Smith just a shade under 14.0 a game. UF is hitting 45.2 percent from the field, while holding its opponents to just 39.5 percent.

The Lineups

LSU (13-4, 2-2 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Jr., 9.9 ppg, 5.2 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Jr., 12.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg
  • F Jordan Mickey, 6-8, So., 15.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg
  • F Jarell Martin, 6-10, So., 16.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg
  • C Darcy Malone, 7-0, So., 1.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, So., 11.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, Fr., 5.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg
  • F Brian Bridgewater, 6-5, So., 2.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Florida (10-7, 3-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Kasey Hill, 6-1, So., 8.0 ppg, 4.4 apg
  • G Chris Chiozza, 6-0, Fr., 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
  • F Dorian Finney-Smith, 6-8, Jr., 13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg
  • F Devin Robinson, 6-8 Fr., 6.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg
  • C Chris Walker, 6-10, So., 5.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Michael Frazier, 6-4, Jr., 13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg
  • G Eli Carter, 6-2, Jr., 7.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
  • F Jacob Kurtz, 6-6, Sr., 4.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg

Danielle Ballard named USBWA national player of the week

Another day another major honor for junior guard Danielle Ballard – her biggest yet.

Ballard was named Tuesday as the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. This followed honors Monday from the SEC, ESPNW and LSWA.

Ballard averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals in LSU’s two upset wins over top 15-ranked teams.

She had 24 points in a 71-69 double overtime win Thursday at then No. 15 Misssissippi State and a career high-tying 25 points Sunday in an 84-79 win over then No. 10 Kentucky.

Ballard is averaging 14.3 points per game in her four games since returning from a 14-game suspension to start the season.

Ballard was not made available for interviews Tuesday.

Former LSU standout Dupree to be SEC Legend

Former LSU basketball standout Ronald Dupree will represent the school as one of 14 Allstate Southeastern Conference Basketball Legends to be honored at the league’s postseason tournament March 11-15.

One basketball legend from each of the SEC’s 14 member schools will be recognized at halftime of his school’s first game of the tournament, which will be played at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dupree, who is serving as a student assistant coach for this year’s LSU team after playing 11 pro seasons in the NBA and overseas, was a standout for the Tigers from 1999 to 2003.

Dupree, 33, played in two NCAA tournaments and the National Invitation Tournament and was a member of the 2000 team that won the SEC title and reached the NCAA’s Sweet 16.

A three-time All-SEC pick, Dupree led the conference in scoring with 17.3 points per game in 2001. He still ranks ninth on LSU’s all-time scoring and rebounding list with 1,726 points and 907 rebounds.

Joining Dupree on this year’s legends class are C.M. Newton (Alabama), Darrell Walker (Arkansas), Chris Porter (Auburn), Eddie Shannon (Florida), Jacky Dorsey (Georgia), Bob Burrow (Kentucky), B.L. Graham (Ole Miss), Doug Hutton (Mississippi State), Derrick Chievous (Missouri), Jack Thompson (South Carolina), Johnny Darden (Tennessee), Sonny Parker (Texas A&M) and Bruce Elder (Vanderbilt).

This marks the 17th year of the SEC Basketball Legends program.

LSU point guard Gray took loss to A&M hard

LSU point guard Josh Gray was hard on himself when he met with reporters Saturday afternoon after committing two critical turnovers in the final 41.8 seconds of a 67-64 Southeastern Conference loss to Texas A&M.

But the pain didn’t end there for Gray, who was called for a charge with the Tigers clinging to a one-point lead, then had a pass for Keith Hornsby intercepted by Texas A&M’s Danuel House with 8 seconds to play when they trailed by one and were setting up for a potential game-winning shot.

Two of his four turnovers came in the final minutes. Gray also had nine points, seven rebounds, five assists and a steal.

During a news conference to preview Tuesday night’s game with Florida in Gainesville, Jones, who played the same position for the Tigers in the early 1980s, said he received a text message from Gray late Saturday night.

“He was texting me and was very apologetic of what transpired and what had happened … and trying to take fault,” Jones said. “I wasn’t going to allow him to do that. I just told him one play doesn’t cost a game, or one player, and that several things happen throughout the process of a game that give us opportunities to be successful.

“Unfortunately, sometimes, it can come down to certain situations that things just don’t happen for us. … You just (have to) bounce back and get ready for the next one.”

Gray, who ranks second in the SEC with 5.2 assists per game, will get that chance when LSU plays Florida at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the O’Connell Center in a game to be televised by ESPN.

LSU’s Danielle Ballard earns SEC, ESPNW, LSWA honors


Danielle Ballard drives for a layup Sunday against Kentucky. Advocate staff photo by Patrick Dennis











No one had a week like LSU’s Danielle Ballard.

The junior guard rose to the occasion just when the Lady Tigers needed her most, scoring 24 points Thursday in a 71-69 upset win at No. 15-ranked Mississippi State and a career high-tying 25 points Sunday in an 84-79 upset of No. 10 Kentucky at the PMAC.

For that, the junior guard from Memphis, Tennessee, was honored Monday as the Southeastern Conference, ESPNW and Louisiana Sports Writers Association player of the week.

In addition to averaging 24.5 points in her last two games, Ballard also averaged 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.0 steals.

Her play was reminiscent of her three-game run in the NCAA tournament last year. With first Raigyne Moncrief then Jeanne Kenney sidelined by injuries, Ballard averaged 23.3 points and 14 rebounds per game to carry the Lady Tigers to the regional semifinals.

Eight of Ballard’s 10 career-best scoring games have now come against ranked opponents.

Her efforts allowed LSU (10-8, 4-2 SEC) to post back-to-back wins over ranked teams for the first time since the Lady Tigers made their last trip to the Women’s Final Four during the 2007-08 season.

LSU is in a five-way tie for fourth place in the SEC standings. The Lady Tigers also moved up from No. 98 to No. 87 Monday in the NCAA’s official RPI rankings.

Ballard’s emergence came in a time of emergency for LSU. The Lady Tigers went 6-6 in pre-SEC play, their worst non-conference record in 20 years.

Ballard was suspended for LSU’s first 14 games for a violation of unspecified team rules. She returned two weeks ago, scoring four points each in her first two games against Vanderbilt and Texas A&M before erupting in her last two.

While discipline may have been a problem for Ballard, there’s certainly no questioning her ability, as LSU coach Nikki Caldwell said after the Lady Tigers’ win over UK.

“Ballard is an All-American,” Caldwell said. “She’s one of the best guards in the country. And she has the ability to make the other people around her very good.”

LSU returns to action at 6 p.m. Thursday at No. 6 Tennessee, the last of five ranked opponents the Lady Tigers will have played over a six-game span.

LSU is home next Jan. 29 against Ole Miss.

LSU signee Ben Simmons to play on ESPNU on Monday

LSU basketball signee Ben Simmons, the nation’s top-ranked recruit, will be featured along with his Montverde (Florida) Academy team, in the Spalding Hoophall Classic at 2 p.m. Monday on ESPNU.

Simmons, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound power forward, signed with the Tigers during the early signing period in November and will enroll at LSU this summer.

Montverde Academy, which is located in Clermont, Florida, will play Bishop Gorman High School of Las Vegas in the Spalding tournament in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Opening Tip: Texas A&M at LSU

Opening Tip will be posted about five hours before each game this season.

General Info

  • What: Texas A&M (10-5, 1-2 SEC) at LSU (13-3, 2-1 SEC)
  • When: 11 a.m. Saturday
  • Where: Pete Maravich Assembly Center
  • All-time series: LSU leads 17-12
  • Last meeting: LSU 68, Texas A&M 49 (at Baton Rouge, Feb. 26, 2014)
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; WWL-FM, 105.3; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will play at Florida on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Starting Five

  • DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: LSU had three players with a double-double Wednesday night at Ole Miss, the first time that happened for the Tigers since Feb. 3, 1990. Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Josh Gray matched the feat of Shaquille O’Neal, Stanley Roberts and Randy Devall in a wild 148-141 overtime win against Loyola Marymount. O’Neal actually had a triple-double with 20 points, 24 rebounds and 12 blocked shots.
  • IT’S HOMECOMING: Aggies coach Billy Kennedy, a Metairie native, was the head coach at Southeastern Louisiana from 2000-05 — guiding the Lions to the 2005 NCAA tournament. He has a 1-5 record against his home-state team and is 271-233 overall in 17 seasons at four college head coaching stops.
  • BLOCKS PILING UP: Since failing to get a blocked shot in a 64-61 loss to Clemson on Nov. 24, Mickey has been on a real tear. He’s averaged 4.7 blocks per game in his last 10 outings and now has 56 in 15 games — 11 more than the entire Texas A&M team has this season.
  • TOUGH GOING: Since joining the Southeastern Conference for the 2012-13 school year, Texas A&M is 1-3 against LSU on the basketball court and has dropped all three football games to the Tigers. The only basketball win for the Aggies came in College Station 83-73 last Feb. 12.
  • FAMILIAR NAME: One of the Aggies’ reserves is freshman guard Avery Johnson Jr., the son of former Southern University star and NBA standout guard Avery Johnson — who also was a head coach in the league. The younger Johnson is averaging 5.2 minutes and 1.7 points in 10 games this season.

Know Your Opponent

  • Texas A&M comes to the PMAC with a 1-2 record in conference play after getting past Mississippi State 74-70 on Tuesday night in College Station. That victory came just three nights after the Aggies took top-ranked and undefeated Kentucky to overtime before dropping a 70-64 decision to the Wildcats. A&M, which is 0-2 on the road, is allowing just 62.5 points per game with opponents shooting just 29.8 percent from 3-point range. Offensively, the Aggies have a solid 1-2 scoring punch in guard/forward Jalen Jones (13.5 points per game) and guard Danuel House (13.2). Guard Alex Caruso leads the SEC with 5.9 assists per game and is third in the league with 2.2 steals a game.

The Lineups

Texas A&M (10-5, 1-2 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Alex Caruso, 6-5, Jr., 8.9 ppg, 5.9 apg
  • G Jordan Green, 6-5, Sr., 6.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg
  • G Danuel House, 6-7, Jr., 13.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg
  • G/F Jalen Jones, 6-7 Jr., 13.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg
  • F Kourtney Roberson, 6-9, Sr., 8.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Alex Robinson, 6-1, Fr., 4.6 ppg, 3.1 apg
  • G Peyton Allen, 6-5, Fr., 5.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
  • F Antwan Spence, 6-8, Jr., 5.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg

LSU (13-3, 2-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Jr., 9.9 ppg, 5.2 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Jr., 12.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
  • F Jordan Mickey, 6-8, So., 15.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg
  • F Jarell Martin, 6-10, So., 16.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg
  • C Darcy Malone, 7-0, Fr., 0.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, So., 12.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, Fr., 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
  • F Brian Bridgewater, 6-5, So., 2.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg

LSU to start Darcy Malone against Ole Miss

LSU coach Johnny Jones is expected to start sophomore center Darcy Malone in tonight’s game against Ole Miss.

It will be the first career start for Malone, a 7-foot Aussie who has played in seven games this season. He played in 19 games as a freshman a year ago.

Malone saw his most extensive action of the season in LSU’s 87-84 double-overtime victory over Georgia on Saturday night. He played 16 minutes, but did not score. He had one rebound and one blocked shot.

Starting as usual for the Tigers will be Josh Gray and Keith Hornsby at guard with Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin at forward.

The fifth starter has been an ongoing experiment for Jones this season. He has started Elbert Robinson III, Aaron Epps and John Odo at that spot this season.

Opening Tip: LSU at Ole Miss

Opening Tip will be posted about five hours before each game this season.

General Info

  • What: LSU (12-3, 1-1 SEC) at Ole Miss (10-5, 1-1 SEC)
  • When: 6 p.m. Wednesday
  • Where: Tad Smith Coliseum, Oxford, Mississippi
  • All-time series: LSU leads 117-87
  • Last meeting: Ole Miss 88, LSU 74 (at Oxford, Jan. 15, 2014)
  • TV: SEC Network
  • Radio: WDGL-FM, 98.1; WWL-AM, 870; KLWB-FM, 103.7
  • In game Twitter updates: @MicklesAdvocate
  • Up next: LSU will host Texas A&M on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Starting Five

  • BACK-TO-BACK: LSU has played two overtime games in a row. The Tigers lost at Missouri 74-67 on Thursday night, then topped Georgia 87-84 in double- overtime Saturday. The last time LSU had two consecutive overtime games was back in the 1983-84 season against Tennessee and Georgia.
  • DEFENSE, DEFENSE: Halfway through the regular season, LSU is among the Southeastern Conference leaders in two defensive categories. The Tigers lead the league with 8.8 steals a game and are second in blocked shots at 6.3 per outing.
  • SEVENTY IS MAGIC: LSU is 10-0 when it scores 70 or more points so far this season. In their three losses, the Tigers have scored 61 points twice (Old Dominion and Clemson) and 67 (Missouri). LSU is 38-14 when it scores at least 70 points in coach Johnny Jones’ three seasons as head coach.
  • ROUGH START: Ole Miss, which is 5-3 this season in the arena known as the “Tad Pad,” opened the season with a 66-65 overtime loss against College of Charleston on Nov. 14 and also fell to TCU (66-54) and Dayton (78-74). LSU crushed College of Charleston 71-47 on Dec. 22.
  • LAST CHANCE: LSU will play for the last time in the Tad Pad, which opened in 1966. Ole Miss will open an $85 million, 9,600-seat facility — The Pavilion at Ole Miss — in December. LSU has dropped six of its last seven games in Oxford with its last win there on Feb. 14, 2009 (73-66).

Know Your Opponent

  • Ole Miss, which was tabbed for a sixth-place finish in the SEC media preseason poll, is off to a 1-1 start in league play after nearly toppling top-ranked and unbeaten Kentucky in Lexington eight days ago. The Rebels, led by the guard tandem of Stefan Moody and Jarvis Summers, gave the Wildcats all they could handle before dropping an 89-86 overtime decision. Undaunted, Ole Miss returned home for an easy 65-49 win Saturday over South Carolina with Summers (20) and Moody (16) combining for more than half their team’s points. Ole Miss ranks third in the league in field-goal defense at 37.5 percent, but is tied for 11th in 3-point field-goal defense at 33.6 percent.

The Lineups

LSU (12-3, 1-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Josh Gray, 6-1, Jr., 9.6 ppg, 4.8 apg
  • G Keith Hornsby, 6-4, Jr., 12.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
  • F Jordan Mickey, 6-8, So., 15.9 ppg, 10.6 rpg
  • F Jarell Martin, 6-10, So., 16.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg
  • F John Odo, 6-10, Sr., 1.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Tim Quarterman, 6-6, So., 12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg
  • G Jalyn Patterson, 6-1, Fr., 4.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
  • F Brian Bridgewater, 6-5, So., 2.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Ole Miss (10-5, 1-1 SEC)

Probable Starters

  • G Jarvis Summers, 6-3, Sr., 11.4 ppg, 3.7 apg
  • G Stefan Moody, 5-10, Jr., 14.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg
  • G LaDarius White, 6-6, Sr., 12.3, 3.3 rpg
  • F Sebastian Saiz, 6-9, So., 7.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg
  • F M.J. Rhett, 6-9, Sr., 6.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg

Top reserves

  • G Martavious Newby, 6-3, Jr., 4.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
  • C Dwight Coleby, 6-9, So., 5.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg
  • G Terence Smith, 6-9, Fr., 3.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg

LSU guard Quarterman is NCAA men’s player of the week

LSU guard Tim Quarterman has been named the Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for his efforts against Missouri on Thursday night and Georgia on Saturday night.

Quarterman scored a career-high 27 points in an 87-84 double-overtime win against Georgia on Saturday night. He also had five rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks to key the victory.

Quarterman was responsible for getting the game to a second overtime when, with his team trailing 80-74, he scored six points in the final 36 seconds of the first extra period.

He made a 3-point basket and then drove in for a layup and was fouled on the play. He made the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play and Georgia missed a last-second shot to send the game to the second overtime.

Quarterman was 6-of-10 on 3-point shots agsainst Georgia, which ties the most made in a game by an individual this season in the Southeastern Conference.

A 6-foot-6 sophomore from Savannah, Georgia, Quarterman opened the week with a team-high 19 points in a 74-67 overtime loss at Missouri on Thursday night.

He is averaging 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game going into LSU’s game with Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi, on Wednesday night.