JUST IN! 8:45 am CST
LSU picked up its 19th commitment for 2015 and it’s a big one - OT Chidi Valentine-Okeke (6-6, 305, Ludowici, GA). Great get for the Tigers at a position of need, and could help a lot with fellow Nigerian, DE Prince Tega Wanogho. With Valentine-Okeke’s pledge, LSU now has 19 commitments and is ranked No. 8 in 247Sports’ team rankings.
1/29/15 5:55 am CST
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Good morning, Tiger Fans,
Well, it wasn’t pretty at times, but the LSU men’s basketball team overcame a late four-point deficit by going on a 12-2 run in the last three minutes of the game to pull out a 64-58 home victory over South Carolina. Josh Gray led the late rally with a 3-pointer and jumper, and LSU made five of six free throws down the stretch while holding South Carolina to 1-of-7 shooting from the floor in the last three minutes of the second half. The win, which was the team’s third in a row, improved LSU’s record to 16-4 overall and 5-2 in the SEC.
Here are the game’s video highlights, and here’s a quick recap of how it played out: Several lead changes occurred in the first half as no team led by more than five. LSU held a slim 29-28 edge at halftime before the Gamecocks used a 12-5 run to grab its largest lead at 40-34. LSU responded with a 12-5 run of its own to lead 46-45, but the Gamecocks dominated the offensive glass and hit a key 3-pointer to grab a 56-52 lead. With less than three minutes remaining, Gray led the 12-2 comeback by scoring six points on a 3-pointer, jumper and free throw, Martin added a dunk, and four free throws split between Mickey and Quarterman were the last four points that iced the game for LSU.
Tim Quarterman led the Tigers in scoring with 16 points (11 in the second half), five rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Keith Hornsby added 15 points and four rebounds. Jarell Martin posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds and also blocked six shots while Jordan Mickey matched that block total of six and added 14 points and six rebounds. Josh Gray only scored one point through the first 37 minutes of the contest, but picked the right time to get hot and led LSU down the stretch, ending the night with a total of seven points. The Tigers finished the night 45.8% from the field (22-48), 35.7% from the 3-point line (5-14) and 78.9% from the free-throw line (15-19) while holding South Carolina to just 34.4% shooting from the field (21-61). LSU was out-rebounded 40-32 and committed 14 turnovers while forcing 15.
Next up for the Tigers is a 1 pm contest at Mississippi State on Saturday. The game will be telecast on the SEC Network and the radio broadcast will be available on 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge.
In football recruiting news, the LSU staff will spend its last full day on the recruiting trail today before hosting several recruits on the final weekend before Signing Day. Yesterday the staff visited two big out-of-state targets in DE Prince Tega Wanogho, Jr. (6-8, 250, Elmore, AL) and and OT Chidi Valentine-Okeke (6-6, 305, Ludowici, GA). You might recall that both of these players are of Nigerian descent and hit it off well when they visited LSU. The two are not a package deal, but I can’t help but believe that if LSU lands one it might help with the other. Valentine-Okeke is expected to announce his decision Monday and both prospects are said to be down to LSU, Auburn and Alabama. Wanogho is not expected to announce his school of choice until a couple of weeks after National Signing Day.
Another prospect that LSU has turned up the heat on lately is DB Holton Hill (6-2, 184, Houston), and his announcement could come as early as tomorrow. For a while it looked like Hill was a lock to Texas, but LSU has made up a lot of ground and feels good about where they stand with the four-star cornerback and return specialist. For what it’s worth, Nola.com’s Jimmy Smith predicts that Tiger fans will receive some surprising good news when Hill announces tomorrow.
There are also a couple of new in-state players to keep an eye on. One is an offensive tackle from my neck of the woods who I wrote about early on, Oshea Dugas (6'5", 300, No. 20 on our list of Top LA Prospects for 2015) of Northside High School in Lafayette. Dugas still doesn’t have an LSU offer, but if the staff misses out on a couple of their current OT targets I look for them to reach out to Dugas, and I think he would be a great get. The other relatively new in-state target who has been generating a lot of chatter of late is DE Joe Anderson (6'4", 240, No. 27 on our list.) of Riverside High School. The word is that Anderson has some work to do in the classroom and might receive a sign-and-place deal. In these situations, a player is often placed in a junior college and then signed once he becomes eligible. If Anderson has his academic qualifications worked out in time, he could count toward this year’s class, otherwise he will likely be part of the 2016 signing class.
Speaking of homegrown talent, today we’ll continue revealing our list of top in-state prospects for 2016 with another set of 10. Here we go…
The Countdown continues….
DandyDon’s List of Top Louisiana Prospects for 2016:
41. Audwin Williams (WR/ATH), 6'3", 180, Berwick
42. Caron Baham (ATH), 6'1", 190, John Ehret
43. Daniel Crosley (DE), 6'2", 250, DeRidder
44. Malcolm Roach (TE), 6'3", 245, Madison Prep
45. Matthew Beck (QB), 6'5", 205, Alexandria Senior High
46. L’Jarius Sneed (DB), 6'2", 195, Minden
47. De’jon Harris (LB), 6'2", 230, John Ehret
48. Mastephon Taylor (DT), 6'5", 275, McDonogh 35
49. Ja'Ceiry Linzer (LB), 6'3", 225, Ascension Episcopal
50. Zack Robert (DE/LB), 6'2", 220, Jesuit
In other football news, the former high school coach of LSU quarterback Brandon Harris made some noise yesterday when he was interviewed on a radio talk show in Shreveport. As you can hear here (at about the 17:00 mark), Coach David Feaster expressed his displeasure with Harris sitting the bench while LSU’s passing game struggled and encouraged Harris to not return to LSU and instead enroll in a junior college for one year before choosing a different D1 school. Fortunately, Feaster was not successful in his attempt to sway Harris, who appears to be fully committed to making it work at LSU. I still believe his time will come.
In women’s basketball news, LSU’s Lady Tigers return to action tonight when they host Ole Miss at the Maravich Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m., and the game will be televised by the SEC Network.
In closing, it was great hearing from many of you about the Mail Call I posted yesterday. I asked if you’d like to see more of that sort of thing, and your response was a resounding yes. My plan is to do those more often, perhaps even weekly. Thanks for all of your input.
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