Bench stepping up as LSU will get additional into SEC play

LSU coach Will Wade didn’t get much production out of his bench in the Tigers’ first two SEC games.

In a three-point loss to Kentucky, the LSU bench finished with 11 points. In the one-point, last-second win over Texas A&M, the Tigers got just nine points from the bench.

But in Wednesday night’s 75-54 domination over Arkansas, the bench stepped up with 29 points including 12 points from Randy Onwuasor, eight each from Brandon Sampson and Wayde Sims and six from Brandon Rachal.

“I was pleased with those guys,” Wade said on Friday afternoon. “We got contributions from a lot of guys. That is what we are going to need. Everybody is going to have to bring something to the table for us to pull some of these games out.”

Sampson, who has started four games but come off the bench for five games, lauded LSU’s depth.

“I think we have a great bench, a great team,” Sampson said. “Teams may have a better starting five than us but I don’t think a lot of teams have a better team than us. Our 13 or 14 guys can play against your five. That balances out. It gives us a lot of depth and energy and I think that’s really good.”

Against the Razorbacks, Aaron Epps led the way with 13 points while LSU had seven players score between six and 13 points. Leading scorer Tremont Waters finished with just eight points but also added eight assists.

“Tre is our leading scorer and I’m not sure how many points we had and we still ended up winning by 20,” Onwuasor said. “That’s a great sign of what we have on this team and what other players can do.”

LSU (11-4, 2-1 SEC) returns to the floor on Saturday night when the Tigers welcome Alabama and New Orleans native Avery Johnson to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Alabama has spent time in the top 25 this season but enter the game against the Tigers with a 2-2 SEC record with wins over Texas A&M and South Carolina sandwiched around losses to Vanderbilt and Georgia.

The leading scorer for the Crimson Tide is freshman point guard Collin Sexton who is averaging 19.5 points per game – No. 1 in the SEC. Sexton was named to the Wooden Award midseason watch list as one of the top players in the country.  

Waters, who is fifth in the SEC in scoring at 16.8 points per game and leads the SEC in steals per game (2.3) and assists per game (6.1), met up with Sexton on the AAU circuit heading into their senior year of high school and has watched several Alabama games this season.

“He’s very fast,” Waters said. “He can shoot the ball. He’s an electrifying player. You don’t come across players like him very much. He’s like a Russell Westbrook kind of player. He’s very fast with the ball, very quick. He’s not making too many moves, he’s just going downhill to the basket.”

Wade said the Tigers will have to watch Sexton who has a keen ability to get to the free-throw line. He’s attempted 10 or more free throws in six of the 15 games he’s played this season.

“Number one thing is that he draws a ton of fouls,” Wade said. “He draws about…

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