AUBURN, Alabama–Coach Bruce Pearl is looking for his basketball team to come out with a stronger starter vs. LSU than the Tigers showed in their previous two SEC road games. Auburn will take the court at 6 pm CST on Wednesday to face a 12-5 LSU team that has won nine of its 10 home contests.
“They are good offensively, sure,” Pearl said. With the two true road games in the league, we were down 5-0 to Georgia, down 19-12 to Ole Miss. I would say we haven’t gotten off to a great start yet. Got to play well early.” Auburn couldn’t rally vs. Georgia lost 76-64. Against Ole Miss the Tigers won 82-73.
Auburn will take a 14-3 overall record and a 4-1 league mark into the contest at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center that will be televised on ESPN2. LSU is off to a 1-4 start in league play with its only win coming at home vs. Arkansas.
“Offensively, they have got some weapons, they have got some guys who can shoot it and put it on the floor,” the coach pointed out. “Some tough covers—they do things inside and out—yeah, they are good.”
LSU features one of the top big men in the SEC, 6-10, 250 fifth-year senior KJ Williams. One of three former Murray State players who made the move to Baton Rouge with Coach Matt McMahonWilliams is averaging 18 points and 7.2 rebounds per game for his new team.
Williams was the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year last season. Two other LSU starters, 6-0, 175 senior guard Justice Hill (6.9 points, 3.5 assists) and 6-2, 215 senior guard Trae Hannibal (5.9 points, 4.7 rebounds) played for McMahon at Murray State.
Auburn’s top scorer, Wendell GreenJr., and top rebounder (Johnny Broome), are also players who transferred from the OVC. Green, who is in his second season at Auburn after moving from Eastern Kentucky, is averaging 13.6 points and 3.8 assists. Broome, who is averaging 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds, made the move to AU from Morehead State.
“KJ Williams He’s one of the best players in the SEC this season,” Pearl said. He and Broome both committed from the OVC so it’s going to be an interesting matchup. They played against each other a lot. They’re both having great years for their respective teams. Both players are important to their teams. Miller is healthy for them now and is a great three-point shooter and a great threat.” Adam Miller is a 6-3, 190 sophomore transfer guard from Illinois, which is averaging 12.8 points.
“This team is better than three than some of the teams we played in the last few games,” said Pearl’s, whose Tigers are on a three-game winning streak. “Last few games we have been able to back off the perimeter (defense) a little bit against Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas. This team, you can’t back off the perimeter as easily because they have guys that can shoot it, which will make that be a little bit more of a challenge for a defense.
Obviously, there’s great familiarity between both of these programs having played Murray State three times in the last four years or so. Coach (McMahon) does a great job, they run a lot of the same actions as we do.”
Auburn defeated LSU 70-55 to open last season’s SEC schedule, but has not won at Baton Rouge since 2017. Pearl’s team will also play a road game on Saturday vs. South Carolina.
Pearl Press Conference