Brady, Tigers hope to reverse poor fortunes vs. S. Carolina Glenn Guilbeau Louisiana Gannett News Service Associated Press LSU coach John Brady fights to get his Tigers back on track at home against South Carolina tonight. BATON ROUGE - It's only the second week of January and early for a must win, but that's how LSU guard Antonio Hudson sees tonight's game against South Carolina (9-4, 1-1 SEC) at the Maravich Center. The Tigers (6-5, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) have lost four of their last five and are off to their worst overall start since the 1996-97 season when coach Dale Brown's last team went 5-6 out of the gate and finished 10-20 and 3-13. LSU also is No. 122 in the CNN/Sports Illustrated ratings percentage index, while South Carolina is 143rd. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. "I'm going to play because we've got to win," said Hudson, who twisted his left ankle Saturday in a 73-58 loss at Alabama and has barely practiced the last two days. "It would be easier if we were 12-1 if you know what I'm saying. I wouldn't want to jeopardize the team for down the road, but if I can play I just feel like I need to play." Hudson was having one of his better games against Alabama. He scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting despite leaving with 11 minutes to go in the second half. "He did a not of positive things - stat-wise, defensive-wise," LSU coach John Brady said on Tuesday. "It was unfortunate for us and him." Brady has doubts about how effective the senior from Grambling will be if he does play. "He's planning on playing, and I'm sure he'll try," Brady said. "We'll know for sure before the game. He didn't do anything today, though he was a little more mobile than he was Monday." Hudson is second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points a game. With guard Regis Koundjia leaving the team last month because he was not in a starting role, Brady has no other off guard. Xavier Whipple replaced Hudson Saturday, but he is a point guard and has been backing up starter Tack Minor at point. The other two players Brady has been using off the bench are forwards Darnell Lazare and Ross Neltner. Freshman guard Garrett Temple is scheduled to redshirt, but he has dressed out in recent games in case of an emergency in light of Koundjia's departure. Hudson's injury is one more reason why the usually angry and fiery Brady is practicing patience. "We haven't handled adversity as well as I would've liked," Brady said, "and I think the best thing to do with this team is to be patient. We've done more individual and team film watching, and we've done more talking about what we need to do than I ever have." LSU is 11th in the SEC in scoring defense with 73.1 points allowed a game and 10th in rebounding margin at plus 1.5. Brady's teams historically have ranked near the top in both categories. The Tigers, who are trying to play a fast-break style for the first time in several years under Brady, are also 11th in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio with 13 assists vs. 18 turnovers a game. "Transition defense and turnovers," Hudson said. "That's what we need to work on. We're giving the other team points off turnovers before we even get a shot off." Meanwhile, LSU has one of the better inside scorers in the SEC in forward Brandon Bass, who is sixth in the league in scoring with 16.6 a game and third in rebounding with 8.6 a game. Forward Glen Davis is averaging 11.6 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. "Maybe we rush shots sometimes," Brady said. "When we don't have it, we really need to give Brandon and Glen some touches around the goal, particularly against South Carolina, which is not big around the goal." Forward Carlos Powell leads the Gamecocks with 14.9 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. "We've got a major problem inside," said South Carolina coach Dave Odom, whose inside players are 6-foot-7 or 6-8 as are LSU's but not nearly as beefy as Bass and Davis, who are at 250 and 310, respectively. "We've got a mess defensively. I don't know what we're going to do there." LSU will be at home for the first time since Dec. 13, and a smallish crowd is expected.