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November 15, 2013

Mickey leads Tigers freshmen in opener

One game into LSU's basketball season, Jordan Mickey appears to be the top contributor in its top-ten recruiting class.

Preseason reports indicated that Mickey seemed to be the most ready freshman. In the Tigers' exhibition game against Xavier (N.O.) last week, Mickey contributed 12 points, six rebounds and eight blocked shots.

The level of competition increased for Mickey when LSU opened its season at Massachusetts on Tuesday morning. The Minutemen had three players in their frontcourt all 6-foot-8 or taller. So, Mickey was certainly going to be challenged in his first college game.

Mickey put on a show which resulted in a double-double in his first career game. He finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, Mickey blocked five shots - the most for a Tigers player in three seasons. Malcolm White had six blocks against Alabama in February of 2011.

"I thought I had a good opening night," Mickey said. "I really enjoyed the college atmosphere. It was fun going against their size inside. But, it was nothing I hadn't played against before."

Mickey made six of his 14 field goal attempts and two of his three foul shots. Due to his teammates' foul problems and injuries to Jarell Martin and Darcy Malone, Mickey was on the floor for all but two of the game's 40 minutes.

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"Jordan was very good on both ends of the floor," coach Johnny Jones said. "His passing and scoring were good. He did a good job blocking shots and altering shots. He really had an impact in a lot of areas. His first game speaks volumes about his preparation and maturity level."

Mickey was one of the few players who did not get into foul trouble. Mickey committed four fouls, but he never had to leave the game.

"I try to work on not fouling in practice," Mickey said. "I keep my hands off of the players in practice. What I did in the first game I feel can do in every game. In fact, I think I can do a little more. I can be in better defensive position, help my teammates out and rebound a little better."

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Freshman Tim Quarterman started at point guard, but he didn't have the same influence on the game as Mickey. In fact, Anthony Hickey played most of the game at point guard. Quarterman logged 18 minutes with much of his second-half time coming at small forward.

Quarterman, who made LSU's first basket with a 3-pointer, connected on just one more shot the rest of the day. His two misses game on back-to-back possessions in the second half when Massachusetts pulled away to take a nice lead. One was an air ball.

"There were two plays where Tim may have struggled late in the game," Jones said. "He was not able to complete the plays like we wanted. But, I thought he initiated the offense and did a good job on defense shadowing (Chaz Williams).

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"I thought Tim and Anthony complemented each other well when they were in together. We were able to run a lot of baseline plays and run some high-low stuff with them out there."

Quarterman finished with five points, three rebounds and one blocked shot. Quarterman, who had one assist, was not guilty of a turnover.

"I thought I played okay," Quarterman said. "I have to improve in late-game situations. I need to be patient. I thought I rushed a couple of shots. I have to get to the hole so I can get to the line more."

Quarterman acknowledged that he has some work to do defensively - both on and off the court.

"With the new rule, people got in foul trouble a lot," Quarterman said. "I have to move my feet better. You can't touch them and I was on a short, quick guard. I need to know the other players' tendencies. I have to pay more attention to the details in the scouting report."

The Tigers' other two freshmen - Jarell Martin and Darcy Malone - had injury problems. Martin sprained his right ankle less than one minute into the game after having a shot blocked. He sat out the remainder of the contest. Malone didn't play due to stitches in his lip.

Martin will not play against Northwestern State on Saturday. According to Jones, Malone should be available against the Demons.



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