On January 24th,the LSU basketball team faced the Xavier Musketeers in a non-conference match-up. Though LSU was able to put a good fight in front of nearly 14,000 fans, they ended up losing to Xavier by the score of 80-70.
It is very hard to find positives out of a loss, but there are some positives that came out of this game.
First, LSU proved that they could hang with a nationally ranked team. The game was close throughout the whole game. The play that just about put the nail in the coffin was when Xavier was able to make a basket to increase the score to 76-67 with roughly two minutes left and LSU wasn't able to come back from that.
So, for most of the game, LSU proved that they could play with the big boys.
Second, LSU was able to gain experience and confidence. Up to this game, LSU had played some OK teams, but nothing like this. They showed their inexperience with some missed shots and missed free throws. This game, in my opinion, will help LSU progress through the season and into the NCAA tournament.
Finally, they were able to learn what was affective and who was able to execute the best on certain plays. They were able to work the ball inside and get some baskets, which may help for the future, and able to see who their go to guy will be for the rest of the year.
Chris Johnson, Tasmin Mitchell, and Quinton Thornton have been able to abuse teams down low, but they still need to have consistent shooting, which proved to be the killer during the game.
Marcus Thornton proved that he can play at a high level of intensity during every game and have consistent shooting as well. He was able to put up 30 points during this game, but didn't get that kind of production out of his teammates.
Though LSU was out-rebounded 40-27, had an awful night shooting, and an even worse night at the free throw line, making 12-19, they were able to play a great game. Think of it like this, if LSU could have made most of the easy shots they missed and played a little better defense, they could have gotten a win.
LSU is a team on the rise. If you're going to play LSU, you better come ready because this team is for real.