@LATechHoops Faces Old Dominion in the TAC
Jan. 6, 2016
RUSTON – After playing the past two seasons in Norfolk, Louisiana Tech will get to face Old Dominion in Ruston inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Thursday night in an 8 p.m. tipoff.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network with John Sadak and Chris Walker calling the action.
LA Tech (12-2, 1-0 C-USA) looks to use its versatile players and the power of home court advantage. The Bulldogs’ 39-game home winning streak ranks second in the country, one shy of tying the program record. During that streak, the ‘Dogs are a perfect 18-0 in Conference USA games.
“It is not something we talk about or put on the board, but there is great pride in this program of playing well at home and playing well period,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We play competitively and we play hard. I think the players really gravitate towards our fans. There is a great environment here.
“We have a lot of versatility and they have been able to defend, rebound just enough, cause some turnovers to get a good flow on offense and do it well together.”
That kind of versatility was shown this past Saturday in the league opener against Southern Miss. Erik McCree posted his team-leading fourth double-double of the season with a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead LA Tech to a convincing 87-57 win.
The redshirt junior is averaging 17.3 points per game, second behind Alex Hamilton’s 18.0 points per game, and a team-best 7.1 boards per game.
“He can make a lot of shots,” Konkol said. “Alex did a great job of finding him, as did his other teammates. He got into that zone that everyone talks about. Hopefully he can get into it more often.”
While McCree and Hamilton provide the one-two punch, one of the unsung heroes as of late has been Merrill Holden. Since his return from injury four games ago, his presence has been felt, especially on defense where the ‘Dogs are allowing just 63.5 points per game (allowed 70.1 prior).
Defense and rebounding will be critical against Old Dominion (8-6, 1-0 C-USA) who is widely known for its ability to defend and crash the glass.
“Old Dominion has a very good history,” Konkol said. “Coach [Jeff] Jones has been a very successful coach for a long time. They are a very physical, hard playing team that defends, rebounds and is very efficient on offense.”
After dropping six of its first 10 games, ODU has reeled off four straight victories including the C-USA opener against Charlotte by a score of 74-65. The Monarchs are undefeated at home, having won 32 straight in their friendly confines which ranks fifth in the nation.
Old Dominion ranks seventh in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 59.4 points per game. On offense, they are led by their backcourt tandem of Trey Freeman and Aaron Bacote who average 16.7 and 15.4 points per game, respectively.
Each team has won once in the series. They first met on 2014 with the Bulldogs coming out on top. That was the last time the Monarchs have lost at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, but they avenged the loss last season.
The contest is part of Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night where all faculty and staff members can receive discounted rates on tickets until noon on Thursday.
It is also Bank of Ruston Social Media Night where 150 selfie sticks will be given away to students. Other giveaways will take place throughout the game courtesy of Bank of Ruston and free pizza will be available to the first 200 students in attendance.
Fans can access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com. The game can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KRMD 1340 AM (Shreveport) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield). The “Voice of the Bulldogs” Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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