It may still be football season, but some other sports were in action for LSU this weekend, with mixed results. Poseur has already discussed the play of the LSU Women's Soccer team. Despite the loss, the Kickin' Kittens (I made that up) had a darn fine season, and the program is improving into something we can all be proud of. I sincerely doubt that the LSU soccer program will compete with the teams from the mid-Atlantic states any time soon, but we take what we can get.
The focus here, though, is on basketball. Both the men's team and the women's team were in action this week. The men beat the Jackson State Tigers 79-65 in a game that was pretty close until pretty late.
I didn't watch the game or listen to it on the radio, so I can't comment that much, but some things stick out on the box score.
- Marcus Thornton only played 18 minutes and only scored 5 points on 1-of-9 shooting. That can be either good or bad, as you have to figure he is not going to do that very much and LSU will be a much better team when he's shooting well. Or, you can look at it and think that one of our best players is in the doghouse and isn't even playing half the game. Or it could just have something to do with foul trouble, as he ended the game with 4 fouls.
- Bo Spencer provided the offensive firepower with 21 points, leading all scorers on the game. Spencer hardly scored at all last year and is not expected to be a key offensive weapon this year, but if he can hit the open shot, drive to the basket, and hit free throws it will help this team immensely. I don't think it's realistic to expect 15 points a game or anything, but if he get about half that most games it will be very helpful and unexpected.
- Despite the fact that the score remained close for much of the game, Trent Johnson used his bench a lot. Only Bo Spencer played more than 28 minutes, and 9 Tigers logged more than 10 minutes. I have to imagine that the bench will shorten as the season progresses.
- As expected, LSU had trouble defending the big guys. Jackson State's big man (all 6'8" 200# of him) was their most effective player, getting 13 points in only 23 minutes on 4-of-5 shooting before fouling out.
The women's team did not fare as well, losing to higher-ranked Notre Dame 62-53. This is a team that lost 5 starters to graduation and will struggle early in the season. The most seasoned player on the team, junior Alison HIghtower, struggled with only 6 points on 3-for-12 shooting.
Notre Dame's supposed to be a good team, and there is no shame in this loss, but Hightower will have to produce for this team to have success. It's hard to say if she was just trying too hard or if her shot selection was off, or if she was just cold. This team probably isn't a Final Four team, but should be at least pretty good, and the recruiting is there to build a good team for the future.