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‘Work in progress’ LSU to face Arkansas State

Nov 9, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers forward KJ Williams (12) dunks the ball against the UMKC Kangaroos during the second half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

LSU struggled at times in its season opener, but the Tigers came up with a victory in the debut of first-year head coach Matt McMahon.

They never trailed in the game, led for all but 64 seconds, held a seven-point halftime lead and led by as many as 16 points in the second half before completing a 74-63 victory against visiting Missouri-Kansas City on Wednesday.

LSU will try to build on that performance when it faces Arkansas State on Saturday at Baton Rouge, La.

“Obviously, I would have liked to play better,” McMahon said. “We’re going to be a work in progress, but overall, a lot of positives to take away.”

The Tigers held the Roos to 32.8-percent shooting, including just 4 of 25 (16 percent) on 3-pointers; managed a 45-38 rebounding edge and finished with 16 assists on 24 field goals.

KJ Williams had 13 points and 14 rebounds, Justice Hill added 13 points, seven assists and four steals and Adam Miller scored 18 points, making 4-of-9 3-pointers.

“We got knocked down a couple of times, but we’re going to work those kinks out,” Miller said. “We have a great defensive team and that’s going to show this year when we start stacking days.”

Arkansas State won its season opener 86-55 at home against Division II Harding on Monday night.

The Red Wolves shot 56.3 percent from the field, had 29 assists and a 40-27 rebounding advantage as well as holding the Bison to 37.5 percent shooting, recording 15 steals and scoring 19 points off turnovers.

The Red Wolves replaced four starters from last year’s team that finished 18-11. The one returning starter is point guard Caleb Fields, who had six points and four assists in 23 minutes in the opener.

“He’s been a leader for us ever since day one,” coach Mike Balado said of Fields. “People listen to him. He’s got a really great way of communicating with his teammates.”

–Field Level Media