LA Tech Hits the Road to Battle Tulane
Jan. 15, 2014
RUSTON - When Louisiana Tech head coach Michael White was a freshman at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, he lived on Tulane's campus and practically in its basketball arena as well, shooting hoops up to four hours a day since his dad was the athletics director of the university.
On Thursday night at 8 p.m., coach White will be able to relive old memories of Devlin Fieldhouse as he leads the Bulldogs into a conference road contest versus the Green Wave.
The game will be televised on Cox Sports with Tim Grubbs calling the play by play and Tom Penders as the analyst.
It can also be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM, KTKC 92.9 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM. The pregame show will start at 7:30 p.m. with the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz. Fans can also access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
Aside from the injury to leading scorer Raheem Appleby, Conference USA could not have started any better for LA Tech (14-3, 2-0 C-USA) with overpowering victories over Florida Atlantic (84-64) and FIU (85-51) at home.
Now the Bulldogs hope to take that momentum on the road as different guys continue to step up in place of Appleby. Versus the Panthers that guy was Jaron Johnson who had career-highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds.
"I think we all saw that Jaron Johnson took unbelievable advantage of that opportunity," said White. "He had eight offensive rebounds. He really played hard and showed how talented he is. We will just have to rally as a group and do it by committee."
Another reason why LA Tech has the 10th highest scoring offense (85.9) in the country has been the rising play of Michale Kyser.
The junior forward registered back-to-back double-doubles in the first two conference games, earning him the LSWA Player of the Week for the second time this season.
His continued growth on the offensive end is starting to match the defensive end where he ranks third in the country in blocks per game (4.0) and leads the team in rebounding (7.7).
"We hope [Kyser] is a force every game," said White. "He has always been a really good shot blocker. Recently, he is finishing better and has been more efficient. A lot of it is him, but a lot of it is our guards making it easier for him."
The guard play of Kenneth Smith who leads the team and ranks nationally in assists (6.4) and steals (2.43) and the rest of the backcourt will be a major key in slowing down Tulane (9-8, 1-1 C-USA) and their trio of guards.
"[Tulane] has three guards that are really good," said White. "They are good in the open floor. They have freedom to go make plays. Our guards will be tested, but we will be prepared by Thursday to do our best to defend those guys."
After opening up C-USA play against two new members, the Bulldogs now face the Green Wave who is in its 19th and final season in the conference.
Tulane will move into the American Athletic Conference beginning next season, but something that has already changed dramatically for them is the roster which welcomed eight newcomers for the 2013-14 season.
One of those newcomers is Jonathan Stark who is the team's second-leading scorer (16.8) and averages the most minutes of any player in C-USA (37.4). Another player who logs a ton of minutes (34.6) is their leading scorer Louis Dabney (18.2). Rounding out the guards is Jay Hook who also averages double figures in points (14.7).
The Green Wave opened the season 5-0, but what followed was a five-game losing streak to even up their record. Now they are a game above five hundred after a 73-62 win at North Texas. Dabney, Stark and Hook combined for 49 of Tulane's points.
Despite both teams being in the state of Louisiana, LA Tech and Tulane have only played each other three times on the hardwood and at three very random times.
The first meeting was way back in 1937. The second matchup did not take place until 1974. The third and final time came 10 years ago in the Louisiana Classic Tournament in Baton Rouge with the Bulldogs edging out the Green Wave in a three-point win.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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