The LSU Basketball team with a 3-0 record in hand landed Monday afternoon on Paradise Island in The Bahamas to compete in the annual Battle 4 Atlantis.
Wichita St leads the all-time series with LSU 4-1, with the Shockers being 2-0 in Baton Rouge and 1-0 in Wichita. The latest meeting was in 2010 as the programs squared off against each other in a neutral court game in Bossier City, La. The Shockers got the better of the Tigers that night by a final score of 69-67.
That was then, but this is now. This year's team includes players who saw significant playing time last year, such as Brandon Sampson, Antonio Blakeney, Elbert Robinson III, Jalyn Patterson, Brian Bridgewater, Aaron Epps, and Craig Victor, who will be making his season debut against the Shockers.
One of the early surprises for the season has been the play of new junior forward Duop Reath. The Perth, Australia, native adds size to the starting lineup as he comes in at 6'10" and 235-pounds. His opening night performance of 23 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks was enough to earn him the season’s first SEC Player of the Week award. Other newcomers are fellow Australian Kieran Hayward, Baton Rouge freshmen Skylar Mays and Wayde Sims, and freshman Marshall Graves from Ponchatoula.
Overcoming a halftime deficit of 43-39 against the Wofford Terriers, the Tigers landed on their feet and rallied for a 91-69 win in the season opener. Three days later the Tigers defeated Southern Miss behind Blakeney's ninth 20-plus point game of his LSU career. The opening homestand of the season concluded Friday night with a rematch of last season's high powered tilt against the Ospreys of North Florida, in which the Tigers won 78-70. Blakeney that night recorded his tenth 20-plus point game and is looking to add to his totals while in the Caribbean.
The Tigers kick off Day 1 of the tournament against Wichita St today at 11:00 AM CT on ESPN2. LSU will then play Louisville or Old Dominion Thursday before wrapping things up in The Bahamas on Friday. All games of the tournament will be televised on the ESPN family of networks and will be broadcast locally on the LSU Sports Radio Network.