C-USA Play Cranks Up Thursday Versus Florida Atlantic
Jan. 8, 2014
RUSTON - After spending 12 seasons in the Western Athletic Conference, the Louisiana Tech men's basketball team ended it with a regular season championship.
Now a member of Conference USA, the Bulldogs quest for a second consecutive title begins Thursday at 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center versus Florida Atlantic.
LA Tech (12-3) not only wants to carry over the same success from last year, it also wants to carry over the success of its last four games where the `Dogs are a perfect 4-0 and have notched decisive victories at ULM, at Oklahoma and at home versus Longwood.
"We have been playing so well the last three or four games that we are really trying to have the same routine and ride the same momentum," said head coach Michael White. "We just want to continue doing exactly what we have been doing and hopefully that gets us off to a 1-0 start.
"We have a talented league with a pretty good resume of wins. There are a bunch of coaches that have coached at the highest level and have been to NCAA Tournaments. There is a high-talent level as well. We have our work cut out for us. We know it is a terrific league in all sports. We have been anxiously awaiting and the time is here."
After coming off the thrilling overtime win against the Sooners, the matchup with Longwood could have been termed as a trap game with C-USA around the corner.
That was certainly not the case as the Bulldogs had seven different guys in double-figures en route to the most points ever scored in a single game and the second largest margin of victory ever in the 126-52 win.
For the game, LA Tech shot 42-of-76 (55 percent) from the field, including a new program record 17 made three-pointers.
"Regardless of the opponent or the level of the opponent, it was probably the best that we have played this season, last season or the first season we were here," said White. "Defensively, we were very solid. Offensively, we were tremendous. We really hit on all cylinders."
Alex Hamilton recently swept the Player of the Week honors from C-USA and the LSWA for his 31-point performance against OU and his double-double versus Longwood.
He is the only Bulldog to start all 15 games for the highest scoring offense (86.1 ppg) in the league. He currently ranks in the top 15 in C-USA in scoring (15.0), field goal percentage (55.3) , assists (3.6), steals (1.53) and assist/turnover ratio (1.50).
Just like LA Tech, FAU will be making its C-USA debut as the Owls made the move from the Sun Belt where it spent the last eight seasons, including the 2010-11 year which ended with a conference regular season championship.
Mike Jarvis is now in his sixth season with the Owls and his 25th season as a Division I men's basketball head coach. Jarvis' has taken three universities, Boston University (1985-90), George Washington University (1990-98) and St. John's University (1998-04) to the NCAA Tournament.
Florida Atlantic is winless in six tries on the road this season and was riding a four-game losing streak prior to an 81-47 victory over Warner.
Leading the charge for the Owls is the inside-outside threat of Pablo Bertone and Justin Raffington. Bertone is second in the league in scoring with 19.3 points per game and Raffington is sixth in the league in rebounding with 8.2 boards per game.
"We are excited to compete on Thursday against a solid team in Florida Atlantic who defends really well and can throw a lot of zone at us," said White. "They are very good on the interior, big and strong. They are big on the wing as well. We are excited about the challenge and we will be ready to welcome the Owls and hope we play well."
This will be the first ever meeting between Louisiana Tech and Florida Atlantic on the hardwood.
It is faculty/staff appreciation day with all faculty and staff able to purchase general admission tickets for $5 or lower level seats for $12.50.
Free Johnny's Pizza, courtesy of Campus Evolution Villages, will also be given to the first 200 students in attendance.
The game will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will do play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis with pregame starting at 6 p.m. Fans can also access live video and audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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