LSU basketball was supposed to take the next step this season. With potential No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, along with another five-star recruit in Antonio Blakeney, the Tigers added a lot of talent to surround Tim Quarterman — another potential NBA Draft pick.
However, the early results indicate very little has changed with the Tigers under coach Johnny Jones.
College of Charleston beat the Tigers 70-58 on Monday night in Charleston, S.C. Canyon Berry — NBA legend Rick Barry’s son — scored 19 to lead Charleston, but his biggest highlight came with this awesome behind the back pass in transition.
Canyon Barry is the knife. LSU is the butter. @ESPNCBB @CBSSportsCBB @FOXSports @NBCSN pic.twitter.com/NVBcFIk4l2
— #LSUvsCOFC (@CofCBasketball) December 1, 2015
All credit to College of Charleston for taking control from an overmatched team early and never allowing the Tigers to really push them. But overall, the resounding adjective to attribute for this game was “ugly.”
LSU seemingly came into the game woefully prepared, falling behind 41-17 early in the second half. The Tigers simply had no idea how to attack any defensive pressure thrown their way. The half-court offense was a wreck, looking like a situation where players were taking at going one-on-one. That led to them scoring at only a .74 points-per-possession clip. They turned the ball over 19 times, shot 31 percent, and only made 5 of 23 from behind the arc.
Simmons’ counting numbers looked strong (15 points, 18 rebounds and four assists), but he shot 4 of 15 and turned the ball over seven times with errant passes. It wasn’t a great game for the future pro. Blakeney joined him in that regard, going 0 for 9 from the field.
This is LSU’s third consecutive loss to an unranked team following last week’s showing in the Legends’ Classic. And the team was unimpressive in two of their first three contests against McNeese State and South Alabama. They’ll get a boost when Keith Hornsby returns, as he’ll provide desperately needed outside shooting. With him, the Tigers could turn this around offensively as every little bit of space for Simmons will help.
But even with Hornsby, losing games they should win on the road has been an all-too-familiar sight in the Jones era. Last year, it was losing to Mississippi State and Missouri. The year before, it was Texas A&M, and in 2013 it was to Auburn. At what point does something become a trend?
The Tigers have raised an awful lot of questions the past seven days. And with what we’ve seen from the current regime, it’s unclear if LSU can turn things around.