LSU, Saint Louis seek 2-0 starts

·2 min read

Southeastern Conference and Atlantic 10 powers will square off Saturday afternoon when the LSU visits Saint Louis.

LSU was ranked third in the SEC's preseason media poll after finishing 21-10 last season. Saint Louis, 23-8 a year ago, was ranked second in preseason A-10 balloting.

"We were playing good basketball at the end of last season, and now we're trying to go from good to great," Saint Louis coach Travis Ford said. "We're not going to rely on that and say, 'Let's try to play like last season.' We want to build on that."

The Billikens (1-0) opened their season with an 89-52 victory over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Wednesday night in the Billiken Classic, a multi-team event at Chaifetz Arena.

LSU (1-0) defeated the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 94-81 on Thursday night.

"We were able to knock the rust off a little bit," Tigers coach Will Wade said on his postgame radio show. "Our offense, obviously, is still ahead of our defense a little bit right now."

LSU and Saint Louis return significant talent from NCAA Tournament-caliber squads.

LSU is led by forward Trendon Watford and guard Javonte Smart, two members of the preseason first All-SEC teams as selected by the coaches.

The Tigers added depth with an excellent recruiting class led by five-star shooting guard Cameron Thomas, four-star forward Mwani Wilkinson and four-star guard Eric Gaines.

Thomas poured in 27 points to lead the Tigers past SIUE and forward Darius Days added 24.

"That's what we want from Cam, he did a great job attacking in the paint and getting to the foul line," Wade said. "Darius did a great job in the first half knocking down those threes. Then, he went inside in the second half."

Saint Louis is led by guard Jordan Goodwin, who made the preseason All-Atlantic 10 first team, and Hasahn French, who was named to the second team.

French missed the SIU-Edwardsville game while in concussion protocol and he questionable against LSU. Goodwin scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against the Cougars.

Senior guard Javonte Perkins is back after scoring 15.0 points per game last season. He scored 22 points in the opener.

"Be aggressive -- that's what team needs me to do," Perkins told reporters after the game. "They need me to score. I have a little more confidence than last year. I was just coming in and trying to understand everything. I made a change in my shot and I think it's working for me."

--Field Level Media