LSU and its improved 'D' hosts McNeese State

·2 min read

One of LSU's primary goals coming into this season was to be a better defensive team.

So far, the Tigers (3-0) are reaching their ambitions.

The Tigers held each of their first three opponents to fewer than 60 points as they prepare to host McNeese State (1-2) on Thursday night. LSU allowed an average of 75.2 points per game last season.

"We played so hard defensively," coach Will Wade said after a 74-58 victory against Liberty on Monday. "We're just a lot better chasing balls down and doing what we need to do with the little things defensively and rebounding."

The Tigers have outscored their three opponents by a combined 150-73 in the second half.

Liberty led by one point at halftime and by seven points in the second half before LSU finished the game with a 27-6 run over the final 7:06.

"I thought we were jittery on offense in the first half," Wade said. "We just needed to calm down. We took some uncharacteristic shots. We were falling for their eye candy. We were trying to take the first decent look we could get instead of getting a great look and so I thought we settled down in the second half."

McNeese had a strong second-half surge of its own in a 116-66 home victory against Champion Christian on Monday. The Cowboys scored the first 17 points of the second half to take a 75-33 lead against the Association of Christian College Athletics school.

The Cowboys forced 28 turnovers, including a school-record 22 steals.

"We had a goal to set a single-game record in either turnovers forced or steals," first-year coach John Aiken said. "I told the players in the final media (timeout) we were a couple away. We were able to get them in the final minutes."

McNeese stepped down in class after beginning the season with double-digit losses at SMU and TCU.

"I think (the crowd) saw some glimpses of what we could be," Aiken said. "We competed really hard and were flying around."

--Field Level Media