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With Jalen Cook back, LSU confident for test vs. Lamar

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LSU finally got point guard Jalen Cook eligible, and now the Tigers have the team they envisioned as their pre-SEC schedule winds down.

Cook made his season debut in a 96-85 loss to No. 19 Texas last Saturday in Houston, and he’ll play his first home game when LSU (6-5) faces Lamar on Thursday night in Baton Rouge, La.

As a double transfer who’s returning to the Tigers after two All-American Athletic Conference seasons at Tulane, Cook needed an NCAA waiver before he could play. He scored 13 points, making 5 of 15 field-goal attempts, in his first action since March.

“I missed some easy ones,” Cook said.

LSU trailed 56-37 at halftime but got within seven points midway through the second half, during which Jordan Wright scored 31 of his career-high 33 points.

“The first half, we just couldn’t do anything with them on the defensive side of the ball,” Tigers coach Matt McMahon said. “Second half, I thought you saw signs of who we could be from an offensive standpoint.”

Lamar (5-6) is playing the final road of its challenging pre-Southland Conference road game.

“This is actually the best schedule that I’ve had since I’ve been here,” third-year coach Alvin Brooks said. “They’re all games that will have is prepared for conference play.”

The Cardinals have made trips to California (to play Pacific) and Virginia (three tournament games) and three in-state road games against Texas competition. Now, they’ll face a nearby SEC opponent.

They are coming off an 82-79 loss to visiting Southern Miss on Monday. The Golden Eagles led by 13 points less than six minutes into the second half, but Lamar tied the score with 3:47 remaining. The lead changed hands seven times the rest of the way before Southern Miss held on.

The Cardinals will host Paul Quinn on Dec. 30 in their last game before the Southland opener at home against Northwestern State on Jan. 6.

–Field Level Media

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