Bulldogs Look to Regroup and Refuel for Owls on Saturday
Jan. 23, 2015
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech used up a ton of energy in trying to make a gutsy comeback from a 21-point deficit in a loss on Thursday.
Now the Bulldogs will have to quickly regroup and refuel as they face the Rice Owls on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Tudor Fieldhouse.
LA Tech (14-5, 5-1 C-USA) was handed its first conference loss, but history has shown the `Dogs do a great job of responding to tough defeats. Since 2012, the Bulldogs are 13-3 coming off a loss.
Energy from the tip will be extremely important considering the way Thursday's contest began. The Bulldogs quickly found itself in a hole with North Texas making 15 of its first 17 shots and having a 49-28 advantage at halftime, a deficit which matched the largest for LA Tech since March 9, 2013 when they were down the same amount at the break to Denver.
The second half was a completely different story. The Bulldogs clawed back to pull it to within one with 4:30 left to go in the game, but the Mean Green held on.
Raheem Appleby was limited to just eight points, only the second time this season he has not scored in double digits.
The senior guard started league play on fire, totaling 77 points in the first three league games for an average of 25.6 points per game. Since then, the scoring baton has been passed to Alex Hamilton who has totaled 77 points in the last three league games, including a game-high 27 points against NT.
Scoring the basketball has not been the problem though for the Bulldogs. The recent struggles have come on defense and that defense will be put to the test against a great shooting team in Rice (6-11, 3-3 C-USA).
The Owls have started a new chapter under first year head coach Mike Rhoades. After amassing just three Conference USA wins the past two seasons, Rhoades already has the Owls with three wins through their first six league games. This includes a victory in their most recent game, a 58-56 win at home versus Southern Miss which was sealed by two late free throws by Marcus Jackson.
Jackson led the team with 19 points against the Golden Eagles adding to his scoring tear as of late, averaging 20.5 points per game which is tops during conference play. Second on that last is LA Tech's Hamilton.
Rice thrives from the foul line and the three-point line. They lead the league by far from the charity stripe with a shooting percentage of 73.7 and in three-pointers made with an average of 9.06 per game.
The Tudor Fieldhouse was a special place for LA Tech last season. It was the building where the Bulldogs clinched a share of the Conference USA regular season championship last season with a 70-48 victory over Rice in the regular season finale.
The `Dogs held just a 29-22 halftime lead, but used a 13-0 run to extend its lead to 49-27 while holding the Owls scoreless for six minutes.
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 action.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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 Click Here.
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