Jan. 24, 2014
RUSTON - After weeks of promoting `Operation Sellout' in an attempt to pack all 8,000 seats in the Thomas Assembly Center, the day has finally come with Louisiana Tech hosting Marshall on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a nationally televised contest.
CBS Sports Network will televise the game with John Sadak calling the play by play and Chris Walker providing analysis.
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 6:30 p.m. with the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz doing play by play and Jack Thigpen doing analysis. Fans can also access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
#OperationSellout rally towels will be given to the first 1,000 fans in attendance as well as free jambalaya while supplies last.
Blue crew t-shirts will be handed out to the first 500 students and free Johnny's Pizza, courtesy of Campus Evolution Villages, will be given to the first 200 students in attendance.
It is also Greek Night and there will be a chili cook-off taking place outside the main entrance of the TAC put on by the Union Board with the winner receiving a 32 inch Grand Master Forge Charcoal Grill.
"Saturday should be a fun environment in the TAC," said head coach Michael White. "We really appreciate the efforts of our administration in attempting to grow our numbers and enthusiasm in the TAC. Our student-athletes certainly appreciate it as well."
LA Tech (16-4, 4-1 C-USA) enters Saturday's contest in a three-way tie with Southern Miss and Tulsa for first place in Conference USA.
The Bulldogs were determined to rebound, literally and figuratively, from their first conference defeat at the hands of the Golden Eagles, and that it did by turning in an amazing defensive performance against Charlotte.
Turnover margin has been and will forever be a staple in coach White's system, a system that has forced at least 15 turnovers in 54 of the 88 games he has been at the helm.
"Turnovers often lead to good looks on the offensive end, and that's what we pride ourselves on as a program as much as anything," said White. "Our turnover margin continues to be our biggest asset. When experiencing a drought, it's important to maintain our defensive energy to be able to convert turnovers or stops into offensive opportunities."
Kenneth Smith, Cordarius Johnson and Alex Hamilton all rank in the top 10 in Conference USA in steals per game. As a team, the Bulldogs have the second best field goal percentage defense (39.2) and they are first in three-point field goal percentage defense (27.4).
Since the loss of Raheem Appleby, Hamilton is pacing the team with an average of 17.0 points per game. Jaron Johnson (12.8) and Chris Anderson (11.8) are also in double-figures during the four-game stretch.
Marshall (7-13, 1-4 C-USA) picked up its first conference win this past Thursday night with a 73-63 victory over the Rice Owls.
Prior to the victory, the Herd was on a nine-game road losing streak and had not won away from the Henderson Center since Feb. 20, 2013. Marshall is just 3-23 away from Huntington since the start of the 2012-13 season.
"Marshall is very quick and athletic," said White. "They are a talented group, led by Kareem Canty. Canty is really good with the ball, has superb quickness, and has the ability to put up big numbers."
Canty, a freshman point guard, is averaging 6.6 assists per game which ranks eighth in the nation. He has earned C-USA Freshman of the Week three times this year.
Forward Ryan Taylor has been their leading scorer in four of the last seven games.
The Thundering Herd welcomed in nine newcomers this season, tied for the most in C-USA.
In the men's basketball programs' eighth season (1932-33), Louisiana Tech opened the season with a 48-23 victory against Marshall.
It took over 50 years for the Bulldogs and Thundering Herd to meet once again on the hardwood. The dynamic lineup of Karl Malone, Wayne Smith, Robert Godbolt and Willie Simmons defeated Marshall in 1984 in the Marshall Invitational in Huntington, W. Va.
The following season, the Thundering Herd returned a trip to Ruston where the `Dogs squeaked out a one-point win.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.