UNC Greensboro vs LSU Preview and Prediction
UNC Greensboro vs LSU Preview
No. 23 LSU looked the part in their season opener on Tuesday night. LSU outscored Southeastern Louisiana, 33-9, in the final 13:30 of the first half to take a 48-18 halftime lead on its way to a 94-63 victory in the opener.
Six Tigers scored in double figures, the first time that has happened since the 2011-12 opener against Nicholls State.
Naz Reid led the way with 17 points, Emmitt Williams had a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), Marlon Taylor came off the bench to score 15, Darius Days and Skylar Mays had 11 each and Ja’Vonte Smart scored 10.
Freshman dominate the Tigers lineup and scored 50 of the team’s 93 points against SE Louisiana.
Friday night will present more of a challenge however, as UNC Greensboro is no slouch, winning the Southern Conference last season. The Spartans won 27 games last season and battled No. 4 seed Gonzaga to the wire before falling, 68-64, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“This game is going to be a full game,” LSU coach Will Wade said. “This is going to be a big test for us, a big step for us moving forward. We’re going to have to execute down the stretch, make some scores and get some scores and do what we need to do.”
“This is a very, very good team, very, very experienced team,” Wade said. “They gave Gonzaga all they could handle. They’re not going to beat themselves and we’re going to have to play extremely well and stay focused and sustain our discipline. They’re not going to get rattled.”
UNCG looked like an experienced Tournament team in their season opener when they trailed North Carolina A&T, 39-38, at halftime. They made 17-of-33 shots in the second half and used a pressure defense to force five turnovers in the first seven minutes of the second half, triggering a 14-4 spurt on their way to a 74-66 win.
Francis Alonso led the Spartans with 23 points, Isaiah Miller scored 16 and Kaleb Hunter 11.
“The full-court press helped us find our rhythm,” Alonso told Greensboro.com. “We did a good job setting it in the first half, but we were much more active in it and talked louder in the second half. We turned it around.”
“We want to be a team that prides itself on effort, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” UNCG coach Wes Miller told Greensboro.com. “I don’t think we’re sound yet or disciplined yet. We have a long way to go to be a good team, but we finally played with great effort in the second half. We showed great togetherness and will to win.”
The Spartans rebound well, especially off the offensive glass.
In their first game of the season at North Carolina A&T, they pulled down 19 offensive — equivalent to what LSU did against Southeastern.
UNC Greensboro averaged nearly 12 offensive rebounds per game last season — almost double what Spartan opponents pulled down.
LSU has more talent, albeit inexperienced talent. With the line at -11 for LSU I think it will hover around six-to-eight points all game long. UNCG will not back down from the challenge and make it close–but can LSU pull away at the end?
LSU 80 UNCG 70