MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – The LSU Tigers face a tough test Friday night in the opening game of the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic when LSU takes on No. 15/16 Utah State at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.
The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network with Bill Roth and Steve Wolf. Patrick Wright and former LSU Coach John Brady will handle the game on the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM the flagship in Baton Rouge).
Game time is 6:05 p.m. CT and is the final game of a four-game schedule. Before the LSU-Utah State game will be the 3:30 CT game between North Texas and Rhode Island. The Rams are LSU’s Sunday opponent in the Classic. Nicholls State, North Carolina A&T, Eastern Michigan and UMBC are in the other bracket that will play earlier in the day.
This will be the fourth time the Tigers and Utah State have played with the last meeting in Baton Rouge in 1984. Utah State leads the series, 2-1. Former LSU Coach Dale Brown was an assistant to LaDell Anderson at Utah State for several years on his way to becoming the LSU men’s head coach.
Both teams are averaging in the 80s with LSU (3-1) at 81.7 points a game and Utah State (5-0) at 86.0 a game. It is the first time Utah State has scored at least 80 points in each of its first games since the 1986-87 season.
The Aggies have defeated Montana State (81-73), Weber State (89-34), Denver (97-56), NC A&T 981-54) and UTSA (82-50).
The Tigers have wins over Bowling Green (88-79), Nicholls (75-65) and UMBC (77-50) with the lone loss an 84-82 decision at VCU.
The teams have five players each scoring in double figures with the Aggies led by Sam Merrell with 17.4 points per game and 22 total assists. Justin Bean averages 13.2 points and 11.0 rebounds, while Brock Miller posts in at 13.0 points, Alphonso Anderson 12.0 and Diogo Brito, 11.0 points per game.
LSU is led by senior Skylar Mays at 17.0 points per game with Darius Days, Emmitt Williams and Trendon Watford all checking in at 12.5 a game. Javonte Smart is at 11.0 points and 15 total assists. Days is LSU’s leading board getter at 8.0 and Williams and Watford pull down seven boards each.
“These are huge games against NCAA caliber teams on a neutral court,” said Coach Will Wade. “They are very big games as we look to move forward and build a resume’. We already lost out on one opportunity so we need to make the most of these opportunities coming up. These are big, big games for us.
“(Utah State is) so good offensively … They are underrated. They are really good. It’s going to be a big, big test on a neutral court. They are going to try to wear us out with how hard they cut, how hard they move, their pace. They are well, well coached and they’ve got really, really good players.”
The Tigers arrived on the island Wednesday night and made their first visit to the Convention Centre Thursday afternoon for their practice and then walk through of the Utah State scouting report. The team practiced for about two hours before returning to the Hyatt Ziva, their headquarters for the weekend.
This is the third year the tournament has been played at Montego Bay. The Montego Bay Convention Centre is located along the Corridor of Rose Hall, Montego Bay. It was opened in April 2011 and can host up to 6,000 persons for theatre styled functions in its largest space, the 57,725 square feet Exhibition Hall where the games are being played.
LSU will play its Sunday game at 1:30 p.m. CT, the second game of that four-game block. The Tigers return to Baton Rouge and will start a three-games in 10-day set at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Friday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. against Missouri State. Tickets are available at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office and online at LSUTix.net.
(Press Release Provided by LSU Athletics)