With three more nonconference games remaining to prepare for SEC competition, LSU will play host to North Carolina Central on Tuesday night at Baton Rouge, La.
The Tigers (8-1) enter following a 72-70 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday in the Holiday Hoopsgiving event at Atlanta.
“We are still learning about our team,” LSU first-year head coach Matt McMahon said. “Everyone is new. Rotations and all that will evolve as we go.”
McMahon knows plenty about center KJ Williams, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, who followed the coach from Murray State to LSU.
Williams had 35 points and 10 rebounds against Wake Forest for his 30th career double-double, while Justice Hill’s layup with 2.1 seconds remaining provided the go-ahead basket to beat the Demon Deacons.
The Tigers trailed by as many as 20 points before rallying. Williams, who was 14 of 21 from the field, scored LSU’s first 11 points of the second half to pull his team within 47-44 and he assisted on Cam Hayes’ 3-pointer to tie the score at 47-47 with 16:40 remaining.
“That was an awesome win,” McMahon said. “There are no 20-point shots out there (so) we needed to get locked in and play better defense.”
North Carolina Central (5-5) enters after a 90-78 loss at Marquette last Tuesday in which Justin Wright scored 18 points and center Brendan Medley-Bacon had 16.
The Eagles saw Marquette shoot 75.9 percent (22 of 29) from the floor in the first half, including 7 of 10 from 3-point range, in taking a 52-29 halftime lead.
North Carolina Central fell behind by 28 points in the second half, but pulled within 11 before losing.
NCCU has three more games after Tuesday before it begins Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play at Morgan State on Jan. 7.
LSU plays host to Arkansas in its SEC opener Dec. 28.
–Field Level Media