January-February hoops

Column on Lawrence “LT” Thomas and his playing through pain is here. Also want to point out that I had some goofy idea that he had been having trouble hitting 3-pointers this season and said as much to him after Saturday’s USI men’s basketball victory at Lewis. He sounded somewhat puzzled in his response, so I checked and, sure enough, he’s shooting over 43 percent this season. I guess what I meant was he has been shooting so little from beyond the arc. He’s still averaging just 2.2 3-point attempts per game even after Saturday’s seven shots from downtown.

What may be more important is USI needs him to keep scoring, especially with the loss of forward Aaron Nelson (11.9 points per game) with a season-ending knee injury. The Eagles are going to need more outside shooting to open up the inside for Keith DeWitt and Taylor Wischmeier (and Manny Ogunfolu, if he can find his shooting touch). It’s even more important since there are nothing but GLVC games from here on out and USI needs as many wins as it can get in order to get a high seed in the conference tournament, which takes place at the Ford Center this year. So far, USI is undefeated (10-0) on its home floor, with all three of its losses coming on the road, one on a neutral court. Coach Rodney Watson knows the deal. “Take care of the home court and be solid on the road,” he said. “There’s no help in January (and, I’m sure he also meant, February). You take care of your own business.”

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