LA Tech and UAB Collide on Thursday Night
Jan. 14, 2015
RUSTON - It is only two weeks into Conference USA play, but Louisiana Tech and UAB are two of the three teams still undefeated.
The Bulldogs look to remain atop the early league standings when they collide with the Blazers on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center.
The contest will be televised live on the American Sports Network with Lyn Rollins and Joe Cravens calling the action.
Fans can access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com. The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield). The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis.
"They are really talented," head coach Michael White said about UAB. "They are big, they are long and they are athletic. They are very good on the offensive glass as they were last year. They are very good defensively. They have really picked it up in that category these last couple of weeks, giving them a chance to get off to a great start.
"We have to prepare the right way and understand that it is a 3-0 team coming in that is really talented and will be really hungry. It is a big opportunity for those guys as well. We are excited."
LA Tech (12-4, 3-0 C-USA) was one of three league teams given the daunting task of starting C-USA action with three straight games on the road.
The Bulldogs were the only one of the three to come out of the road stretch with three wins, all of them coming by double-digits. After knocking off UTEP in El Paso, they swept the weekend road series by defeating UTSA in San Antonio, 84-72.
It took a strong defensive effort to beat the Miners and a strong offensive effort to take down the Roadrunners, but one constant in both of them was the outstanding play of Raheem Appleby.
After recording a game-high 22 points against UTEP, the senior guard registered a game-high 25 points against UTSA. Through three league games this season, he has totaled 77 points with an average of 25.7 points per game and has not committed a single turnover.
Compare that to last season when he totaled just 14 points in league play - eight in the opener when he suffered an ankle injury versus Florida Atlantic and six in the regular season finale at Rice.
"I think he was playing in this hemisphere," White said on comparing Appleby last year pre-injury to this year. "He was a very good player, but I thought midseason last year he started putting it all together being a lot more efficient and becoming a real leader for us. Just being really sound and he went out with the ankle and now we are seeing it on a more consistent basis of what he really means to this program. He is playing at a really, really high level right now in every facet of the game."
For UAB (7-9, 3-0 C-USA), they endured a brutal non-conference schedule which featured the likes of Wisconsin, Florida, UCLA, LSU and North Carolina. The Blazers were only able to pick up four victories in 13 games, but have gotten off to a hot start in C-USA action with a road victory at Middle Tennessee and a home sweep of Florida Atlantic and FIU.
A big key to the undefeated league start has been the defense, allowing just 53 points per game. The Blazers are led in scoring by Virginia Tech transfer Robert Brown who averages 13.3 points per game.
Thursday night will be the first time the Bulldogs take on the Blazers in the TAC, a place where they are riding a 20-game home winning streak and have not lost a conference game in almost three years.
Fans are also reminded that tickets for the 2015 Conference USA basketball tournament which will be hosted by UAB in Birmingham (March 11-14) are on sale for $180 which includes tickets to every game (both men's and women's sessions). To purchase your tickets to the tournament or to any Louisiana Tech basketball home game, call the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online at https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/latech/EN/buy/browse.
Fans can receive live in-game updates on Twitter by following @LATechHoops.
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