POSTED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 8:36pm
UPDATED: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 8:49pm
Columbia, South Carolina — The LSU men's basketball team, winners of two straight, now try to take its winning ways on the road for an afternoon tilt at the Colonial Life Arena against the University of South Carolina.
The game is set for 12:47 p.m. CST on the SEC Network (Louisiana affiliates: Alexandria-KLAX-DT; Baton Rouge-WAFB; Lafayette-KADN; Lake Charles-KVHP; Monroe-KARD; New Orleans-WUPL; Shreveport-KMSS), and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (New Country 100.7 The Tiger in Baton Rouge) and in the Geaux Zone at www.lsusports.net/live .
LSU is 15-10 overall, 5-6 in the SEC and tied for sixth in the league after a thrilling 69-67 overtime win over Mississippi State at the Maravich Center on Tuesday as Anthony Hickey hit an eight-foot runner with 1.4 seconds to play in the game. South Carolina is 10-15 and 2-9 after a home win on Wednesday against Georgia.
Malik Cooke leads the Carolina starters averaging 12.2 points per game with Bruce Ellington averaging 10.4 a contest.
"South Carolina is playing with as much purpose as anybody in the league right now," said LSU Coach Trent Johnson. "They've got a really nice, talented young team. Obviously, [Bruce] Ellington, we all know about, is a special player. Watching their game tapes, they've had an extremely challenging schedule [playing] Vanderbilt twice, Kentucky twice, so on and so forth, but it speaks volumes to [head coach] Darrin [Horn] in terms of how hard his team's playing and how they haven't lost their focus. Obviously, I'm well aware of what that's about because I've been there twice. So, it's a game on the road that we're going to have to play well. There's no question about it ... we need to be ready to go."
The Tigers need to avoid the start they had against Mississippi State on Tuesday as the Bulldogs sprinted out to a 30-13 lead in the first 14 minutes of the contest. LSU was able to get back even in the opening moments of the second half, only to fall behind by nine against with 12 minutes to play.
Ralston Turner led LSU in the contest with 17 points, while Justin Hamilton had 14 and Andre Stringer and Storm Warren pumped in 10 each. It was the second double double of the season (13th of his career) for Warren as the senior also pulled down 11 rebounds.
The Tigers are looking for their first league road win after getting three wins on opponent's courts in non-conference play. LSU plays three of its final five games on the road before the Southeastern Conference Tournament in New Orleans, March 8-11.
Playing for the first time since 1991 without divisions, the league standings are as jumbled as they can be as the teams work for seed position in the tourney. Entering the weekend, the fourth and final first-round bye position finds Mississippi State and Tennessee tied at 6-5 with four more teams - Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Ole Miss - just one game back at 5-6 in a tie for sixth.
The Tigers return home on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. SEC Network tilt against Georgia. Tickets for the game are available online at LSUtix.net. Follow LSU Basketball on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/LSUBasketball  and on Twitter @LSUBasketball and @LSUCoachJohnson.