LSU is undefeated and has entered the AP rankings after beginning the season off the national radar.
But coach Will Wade still felt the No. 25 Tigers (8-0) needed to fix some things during their recent break from games for semester exams.
Their next basketball test comes Saturday against Georgia Tech (5-3) as part of Holiday Hoopsgiving in Atlanta.
“I needed to get to the break to reset everything,” Wade said. “We’ve had some slippage in some areas. It hasn’t been noticeable because we’re winning and all that sort of stuff.”
Wade was dissatisfied with the Tigers’ offense coming out of their last game, a 66-51 home victory against Ohio on Dec. 1.
“Our defense was really solid,” Wade said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on offense.”
LSU scored the first 14 points, seven of which came off turnovers, and led the Bobcats 34-22 at halftime.
But Ohio pulled even at 37 before LSU ran away to its seventh double-digit victory as it held a sixth opponent to fewer than 60 points.
The Bobcats took 68 shots and the Tigers took just 49, but Ohio shot just 26.5 percent. LSU is averaging 13.4 turnovers after having 17 in each of the last two games.
“We have to work on our ball movement,” Wade said. “The ball sticks. We’re just so poor on offense. It’s my fault. I’ve got to coach them better. I’ve got to help us out.”
Georgia Tech also had shortcomings on offense in its most recent outing. The Yellow Jackets, who held a four-point lead early in the second half, couldn’t overcome a 4 1/2-minute scoring drought in the second half as they lost at home to North Carolina 79-62 in their ACC opener last Sunday.
The sluggishness continued a trend. Georgia Tech has shot a collective 42.1 percent in its last three games and finished with fewer than 70 points in each of those games after scoring more than 80 in each of the two games before that.
But Michael Devoe has maintained his offensive pace, averaging 23.3 points per game and shooting 54.5 percent on 3-pointers.
“Teams are going to put their best player (on him),” Yellow Jackets coach Josh Pastner said. “They’re going to try to take him out, and it’s going to be a challenge.”
Georgia Tech hasn’t made its last two opponents pay for their added attention to Devoe. The Yellow Jackets had a combined 15 assists on 47 field goals in those games.
“The ball (hasn’t been) moving as well,” Pastner said. “We’ve missed some shots, but I thought we’ve gotten stuck, over-dribbled at times.”
Georgia Tech has just the game against LSU and a neutral-site game against No. 16 USC in Phoenix on Dec. 18 in the next two weeks.
Pastner hopes to use that time the same way Wade tried to use his recent break.
“We’ll be able to clean some things up over these next two weeks,” Pastner said. “I’m not sitting here telling you we’re going to go and win every single game, but we’ll be better.”
–Field Level Media