PW: (?)

Tiger Basketball Team Faces Mississippi State For 1st Place In The SEC West

BATON ROUGE ? The LSU men?s basketball team, coming off a strong week of two Southeastern Conference wins, tries to keep the momentum rolling forward when it takes on Mississippi State University Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

There is no television for the game, but the radio broadcast will be available on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (New Country 100.7 FM The Tiger in Baton Rouge) and in the ?Geaux Zone? of

Tickets for the game start at $14 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12) and are available online at and beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the upper ticket windows of the Maravich Center. At halftime of Wednesday?s game, the championship trophy of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl will be presented to Coach Les Miles and the LSU football team by bowl officials.

LSU students are admitted free with their student ID and it is student point game in which students earn priority points toward future ticket use by attending.

LSU enters the game at 14-3 overall and 2-1 in the SEC after an 83-68 win over South Carolina at home and an 83-51 triumph over Ole Miss in Oxford last week. Mississippi State is one of the hottest teams in the league, having won five-straight games to go to 13-5 on the year, but more importantly a 3-0 start in the SEC Western Division.

The Tigers are also involved in a long win streak, having won 13 home games this year and with wins in the final three home games a year ago, LSU will put a 16-game home winning streak on the line against State, tied for the fourth longest win streak in the 38-year history of the Maravich Center.

LSU?s Tasmin Mitchell had games of 30 and 17 points to lead LSU last week and has upped his second on the team scoring average to 15.2 points per game. Marcus Thornton still leads the team in scoring at 17.6 points per game with point guard Bo Spencer averaging 12.2 points per game. Garrett Temple had nine assists in the Ole Miss game and averages 4.0 assists per game and his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1 is second in the league.

Mississippi State has gone to a much different type of lineup with four guards to go with shot-blocking expert center Jarvis Varnado. But it has been a combination that has propelled the Bulldogs to a contending position in the SEC.

?Mississippi State is very impressive,? LSU Coach Trent Johnson said. ?Their skill set is unlike anything we have faced all year long. They have five or six perimeter players that are very skilled and can get their own shot. The thing that impresses me the most is whether they make it or miss it, they push the ball up and shoot it deep. Our transition defense, our ability to cover the three-point line is going to be huge come Wednesday.

?I think Coach (Rick) Stansbury has done a really good job in a short period of time with this team in making the decision to go small. Obviously, they are playing really well right now. We are going to have to play our best game defensively. We are going to have to sustain it for 40 minutes because this is not a group where you can just help off on this guy or that guy. You have to guard all five starters and then they come off the bench with two or three good players.

Varnado is averaging 12.6 points per game, 9.6 rebounds and 5.2 blocks for the Bulldogs with Ravern Johnson averaging 12.1 points per game, Barry Stewart 10.9 points and Dee Bost 10.3 points and 4.7 assists.

The Tigers will also play at home Saturday against nationally-ranked Xavier. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tipoff and will be televised by ESPN2.