BATON ROUGE -- Anthony Hickey has become a juggler for the LSU Tigers in 2014.
As the starting point guard, Hickey has not only shifted roles from being a scorer to a distributor, he's also had to learn how to incorporate new players like Jordan Mickey and Jarrell Martin within LSU's offensive system.
It's been a full season of adjustment, and it's caused Hickey to think more than he's reacted in 2014. All of these factors have minimized his production this season from last year's 11.2 points per game to 8.6.
His hesitation has led to frequent talks with coach Johnny Jones, who admitted he needs his junior guard to score and take pressure off of the Tigers' front court.
"He just tells me to have fun, to stop thinking too much," Hickey said. "He told me to let the game come to me and run the team."
Hickey took a step forward in the right direction against Auburn last Saturday when he scored 17 points and made 5-of-7 3-pointers.
Jones said Auburn chose to play percentages; meaning the opposing Tigers concentrated their defense on eliminating greater field goal conversion percentages. It's no secret Johnny O'Bryant, who has led the Tigers in scoring with 15.4 points per game this season, is LSU's best option for offense. Jones said that O'Bryant single-covered in the post is likely to make 75 to 80 percent of his shots. With Auburn doubling LSU's big man underneath the goal, shot opportunities opened for Hickey and he took them without hesitation.
"We know that he's very capable out there," Jones said. "Hickey certainly has the ability to make (opponents) pay with the long ball."
Hickey said he wanted to take pressure off of O'Bryant and Jordan Mickey, who is averaging 13.8 points per game alongside O'Bryant in the post.
His high-percentage shooting aided a 12-2 run early in the second half that erased an Auburn lead and allowed LSU's bigs to produce more offensively in the second half en route to an 87-80 victory.