No. 18 Tennessee seeks its longest win streak since December as it hosts LSU (12-8, 3-5 SEC) in Knoxville at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
In the last matchup between the two teams, the Tigers won their second straight game over the Volunteers. In fact, LSU snapped a 15-game losing streak with a 92-82 win over Tennessee on March 1 last season. Lamonte Turner and Grant Williams combined for 30 points in the loss.
The Tigers have seen vast improvement after going 10-19 last season, with two wins over Texas A&M and a win over Arkansas this season. However, in their last time out against Auburn, things didn’t look so good for LSU.
Auburn out-rebounded LSU 38-24 and turned the ball over 17 times in the 95-70 loss. The Tigers entered halftime with a 19-point deficit as the team put up 51 points in the first half. Still, the senior duo of Duop Reath and Randy Onwuasor combined for 32 points and six rebounds on the night. The only other player with double-digit points for the Tigers was sophomore guard Skylar Mays with 10 points and five assists.
Four-star freshman Tremont Waters, who averages a team-high 15 points per game, had a career-low in scoring in the loss on 1-of-7 shooting. Reath and Mays round out the leading scorers for the Tigers with a combined average of 25 points per game. Senior forward Aaron Epps tallies 9.6 points per game and leads the team in rebounds.
LSU head coach Will Wade announced Monday that sophomore Wayde Sims and freshman Brandon Rachal would be suspended for Wednesday’s game in Knoxville. The pair of players average just 10 points per game for the Tigers. Two other players are also suspended for the remainder of the season, giving the team just seven scholarship players on the roster.
Tennessee made a splash last game in the Big-12/SEC challenge on Saturday with a 68-45 beat down of Iowa State in Ames. Sophomore guard Lamonte Turner put up 20 points and added five rebounds in the win to boost Tennessee to No. 18 in the AP Poll. Senior guard James Daniel III added 16 points off the bench on 6-of-10 shooting as well.
The Volunteers showed impressive depth in the win, as the impact tandem of Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams combined for just 19 points. Tennessee had just three players with double-digit points, and two of them came off the bench. More impressively, the Vols out-rebounded the Cyclones 49-31 and forced them to shoot just 24 percent from 3-point range. Tennessee snagged 16 offensive rebounds and held Iowa State leading scorer Lindell Wiggington to just nine points.
LSU brings a veteran presence, but they also have extreme problems when it comes to rebounding. In the last two games, the Tigers have been out-rebounded by a combined margin of 34 rebounds. Tennessee should be able to control the game with its tenacious rebounding and ability to lock down shooters on defense. If LSU wants any chance to beat the Vols, they can’t get beat on the boards.
Edited by Ben McKee
Featured image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics