No. 23 LSU looks to rebound vs. Nicholls State

The Associated Press

No. 23 LSU and visiting Nicholls State are both looking for bounce-back performances when the in-state rivals meet Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge, La.

The Tigers are coming off their first loss of the season, and the Colonels are coming off a sloppy victory that left their coach unsatisfied.

LSU is 1-1 after going to VCU and losing 84-82 on Wednesday night in third-year coach Will Wade's return to the campus he left three years ago to become the Tigers' coach.

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Wade said he was concerned about his team committing 16 turnovers that led to 16 points in a season-opening win against Bowling Green. He's even more concerned about turnovers after his team committed 26 -- the most during his tenure -- against VCU, which turned the miscues into 37 points.

"The difference in the game was our turnovers," Wade told the Advocate. "We got it to one with nine minutes left and turned it over two straight times, and we had the game tied and turned it over three straight possessions. At the end of the day, that ultimately did us in.

"We turned it over 26 times, gave up 37 points off the turnovers, and got beat 10 (points) on the free-throw line. So, that's not a good recipe."

Falling behind by as many as 15 points and trailing 50-38 at halftime weren't great either, but LSU fought back and put itself in position to win.

It took its only lead of the second half in the final minute. Then after the Rams regained a one-point lead, the Tigers missed two shots. After another free throw, they still had a chance to tie or win, but committed one last turnover in the final second.

"The ball just didn't bounce our way at the end of the game," guard Darius Days said.

Nicholls State began the season with an overtime loss at Illinois and an upset victory at Pitt.

But the Colonels were uninspired as they defeated NAIA opponent Paul Quinn College 81-66 on Wednesday night.

After the game, Nicholls coach Austin Claunch said he was "embarrassed" by the performance and apologized to the team's fans.

"First off, you have to give Paul Quinn credit for showing a lot of fight, playing back-to-back nights and completely outplaying us in terms of effort, loose balls, which is what we made our mark on the last 10 days. We had none of it tonight," Claunch told the Thibodaux Daily Comet. "I want to apologize to the fans who came here tonight to support us. We have to earn their trust back. That was a bad performance by our team."

Nicholls shot just 41.1 percent (30-of-73) overall, including 27.6 percent (8-of-29) on 3-pointers.

"That's college basketball," said senior Dexter McClanahan, who led the Colonels with 18 points. "You're going to have your highs and you're going to have your lows. You just have to try to stay even.

"We're just going to practice hard. We're going to correct some things we know we didn't do too well and then we'll go into Baton Rouge on Saturday looking to win."

--Field Level Media

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