Bulldogs, Miners Meet in Ruston on Saturday Night
Jan. 5, 2018
RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team is still in search of its first conference win of the season and will have another opportunity at home to make that happen when they meet UTEP on Saturday night at 6 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
The live video stream can be seen with a paid subscription to CUSA.tv. Fans can listen to the Voice of the Bulldogs Dave Nitz and Jack Thigpen call the action on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) and KRMD 100.7 FM (Shreveport) as well as on the Louisiana Tech X mobile app.
It has been a lot of late-game heartbreak for LA Tech (9-7, 0-3) this season, both at home and on the road. It is the midway point of the 2017-18 season and the team has already had seven of its 16 games that were decided by four points or less which is already the most in the last six years.
The Bulldogs are just 2-5 in those games. Both of those victories came during the squad’s five-game winning streak to open the season against SEMO and Evansville.
Since then though, it has been a three-point loss to Alabama, a two-point loss to Stephen F. Austin, a four-point loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, a one-point loss to WKU and, most recently, a two-point loss to UTSA this past Thursday.
Against the Roadrunners, the ‘Dogs took care of the basketball with only eight turnovers and defended the three by allowing just six three-pointers. Both of these were crucial to have success.
However, UTSA ended up making 25 of their 41 shot attempts from two-point range for 61 percent, including the game-winner with one second left on the clock to sneak away with a 78-76 decision.
LA Tech has suffered three losses in its last four games in the TAC. Those defeats have come by a combined eight points.
Senior guard Jacobi Boykins did everything he could do to will his team to victory, making two tough jumpers and hitting all three free throws to tie the game up at 76-all. He ended up finishing with a season-high 24 points.
He made three triples and now needs just eight more to set the LA Tech career record. His streak of 33 straight made free throws came to an end, but he started a new streak which is at seven straight.
The opponent, UTEP (6-9, 1-2 C-USA), has been a very streak team this season. In non-conference play, they dropped six straight games but followed that up with four straight victories, including wins over New Mexico and Washington State.
The Miners have suffered losses in three of their last four games though, two of which came in league play versus North Texas and against Southern Miss which came on Thursday in Hattiesburg (85-75).
Their leading scorer and rebounder is guard Keith Frazier who played three seasons at SMU and played in four games last season at North Texas before transferring. He is averaging 14.5 points and 6.2 boards per contest, but has missed the last two games.
Also averaging double figures is center Matt Willms and C-USA All-Preseason Team selection guard Omega Harris as they are averaging 11.6 and 11.5 points per game, respectively.
Tim Floyd, announced his retirement as the Miners’ head coach on Nov. 27 following a loss to Lamar at the Don Haskins Center. He closed out his college coaching career with 466 wins (138 of which came at UTEP). Phil Johnson has taken over as the interim head coach. He has served as an assistant coach at UTEP since 2010.
LA Tech leads the all-time series with UTEP, 12-10. Since the two squads became league foes again in 2013-14 in C-USA, the Bulldogs have a 5-2 advantage in the series and have won five of the last six meetings.
Last season, LA Tech swept the season series for the second time in the last three years. They have won the last four meetings in Ruston against the Miners with the last loss coming in 2004.
Twitter users can follow @LATechHoops for live in-game updates.
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