Before opening the new year against two powerhouses, LSU looks to close this year with success in the Hispanic College Fund Classic.
The event will include three games in three days for the 17th-ranked Tigers, starting with a matchup against Wright State on Wednesday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
After facing the Raiders (5-5) for the first time, LSU (7-3) hosts Mississippi Valley on Thursday and Samford on Friday. The Tigers have not played on consecutive days since last season’s SEC tournament when they lost to Florida in the semifinals.
LSU tries to build some momentum against inferior opponents in the Hispanic College Fund Classic before hosting No. 12 Connecticut on Jan. 6, and opening its SEC schedule at No. 8 Alabama on Jan. 9.
The Tigers bounced back from an 88-72 loss to then-No. 17 Washington last Wednesday with a 68-52 win over Louisiana Tech on Saturday, but their shooting woes continued.
LSU hit 42.3 percent from the field and made 6-of-19 from 3-point range Saturday, and is shooting just 40.7 percent from the floor in six games this month.
“It was a workmanlike victory,” coach John Brady said. “I was not tremendously excited or disappointed.”
Preseason All-American forward Glen Davis was 4-of-11 from the floor, but made 15 of 18 free throws to finish with 23 points. Davis had a season-low eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in the loss to the Huskies.
Although the Tigers are struggling to find their shooting touch, Brady has been impressed with transfer Terry Martin’s accuracy.
Playing his second game after transferring from Texas Tech, Martin came off the bench to score 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t shoot the ball as we would have liked on the perimeter except for Terry Martin,” Brady said. “I knew Terry can score the ball. Another positive thing is that Terry’s teammates look for him.”
Martin is 8-for-13 (60.0 percent) from beyond the arc this season.
While LSU’s offense is struggling, its defense held Louisiana Tech to 35.6 percent from the field. The Tigers are limiting opponents to an average of 52.8 points and 33.0 percent shooting in six home games this season.
They will host a Raiders team which has shot 36.0 percent in its last three games.
LSU improved to 5-1 at the Maravich Center with Saturday’s win, its 13th in a row at home over unranked opponents.
Wright State is 2-4 on the road this season, but has had recent success against ranked teams.
The Raiders have alternated wins and losses in their last four games against ranked opponents, but haven’t played a Top 25 team since an 83-66 loss to No. 10 Arizona on Nov. 18, 2004.
Senior DaShaun Wood’s two free throws with 5.4 seconds left gave Wright State its second straight win on Thursday, 63-62 over Chicago State.
Wood finished with a season-high 25 points, six rebounds and four assists, and is averaging 22.3 points in his last four games.
The Raiders play Samford on Thursday, and conclude the round-robin tournament against Mississippi Valley on Friday.