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A spirit that is not afraid

Auburn basketball heads to the Bayou to face LSU

Auburn basketball heads to Baton Rouge, La. this Wednesday to face LSU as it looks to extend its three-game winning streak. 

“It’s similar to getting ready for Mississippi State because LSU started off winning 12 out of their first 13 games,” said head coach Bruce Pearl. “Then they go to Kentucky, go to Texas A&M and then they go to Alabama. Almost everybody is going to go to those places and struggle.”

Auburn looks to win its second straight over LSU, having defeated the Bayou Bengals 70-55 last season in Neville Arena, while LSU tries to extend the home teams winning streak in this series to four.

No. 16 Auburn (14-3, 4-1 SEC) has won its last three conference games, including a 69-63 win over Mississippi State. Auburn forward Jaylin Williams led the team in scoring, putting up a season high 21 points off a blistering 5-of-7 night from three-point range.

“(Pearl)’s always given me the green light, but I’ve just never taken the opportunity to take the shots. I look to past first. I don’t know why I do that, but I’ve always played that way,” Williams said. “My teammates trust me and want me to take those shots every opportunity I can.”

LSU (12-5, 1-4) has dropped four straight in the SEC, losing 106-66 in its last matchup up against Alabama. The Tigers are averaging 69.7 points per game, which ranks 11th in the SEC. Despite being at the bottom of the league in scoring, LSU boast one of the best three-point percentages in the SEC — shooting 34.9% from behind the arc.

“They’re good offensively. They’ve got some weapons and some guys who can shoot it up and down the floor,” Pearl said. “This team is better from three than some of the teams we’ve played the last few games. The last few games we have been able to back off the perimeter a good bit. This team you can’t back off the perimeter as easily because they have guys that can shoot.”

Senior KJ Williams leads LSU in scoring, averaging 18 points per game — good for third in the SEC. Williams also leads LSU on the boards, averaging 7.2 rebounds per game.

“We’ve got to be more connected to him than the bigs we’ve played in the past. Most of them haven’t been able to shoot from the arc like him,” Auburn's Williams said. “He’s shooting 44 or 45 from three. We’ll really be sticking to him. If we don’t let him hit three or four threes, we should be fine.”

LSU is giving up 67.1 points per game, ranking 121st nationally. While LSU is averaging 7.8 steals a game — which ranks seventh in the SEC — it is at the bottom of the league in blocks (2.6) and rebounds (34.6) per game. 

Auburn and LSU have competed against three of the same opponents this season: Winthrop, Florida and Arkansas. Auburn went 3-0 against those common opponents while LSU went 2-1, losing to Florida 67-56.

Auburn and LSU will tip off from Pete Maravich Assembly Center at 6 p.m. CST. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Donavan Weaver | Sports Writer

Donavan Weaver is a senior at Auburn, majoring in journalism. He is from Brewton, Ala. and started with The Plainsman in fall 2022.

Twitter: @donavanweaver21

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