Jan. 25, 2013
RUSTON - the 2012-13 basketball season has taken Louisiana Tech from the east coast to the west coast, all throughout the state of Texas and more.
Twelve of the 20 games thus far have been away from home, and the 21st game will be as well as the Bulldogs travel to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies in an 8:05 p.m. CT tipoff at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
LA Tech (17-3, 8-0 WAC) carries with it a first place standing in the league and a nine-game winning streak, five of which have come outside of the Thomas Assembly Center.
The next road task may be the toughest by far with the well-known success of Utah State (14-4, 5-3 WAC) in the conference, and particularly, in their home arena.
Since the Aggies joined the WAC in 2005, they are an astonishing 122-11 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to go along with the best winning percentage in the conference (75.2).
The Bulldogs have had very little success against USU over the past eight years as conference foes, and have had zero success in Logan where they have never won before in seven attempts.
The closest LA Tech ever got to a road upset was in 2010 when they lost 67-61, but the `Dogs did knock off the perennial power in their last meeting, 72-70, which came in the quarterfinal round of the WAC Tournament last season en route to the conference finals.
The Aggies were chosen as preseason WAC favorites, and it was well-understood as they ran rough shot through their non-conference schedule to the tune of an 11-1 record.
After opening WAC play 5-0 to increase their overall record to 16-1, the Aggie roster was suddenly hindered, losing two of their top players - preseason WAC player of the year Preston Medlin, Jr. and Kyisean Reed - to injuries in a loss to New Mexico State.
With two of their top three scorers sidelined, junior college transfer Spencer Butterfield has stepped up as the main scoring threat, tallying 23 points and 11 rebounds against the Mavericks.
Utah State is still out in front in a lot of statistical categories within the conference, including field goal percentage (48.1), three-point percentage (38.5), rebounding margin (+7.7) and assists per game (15.67).
Head coach Michael White and Co. will continue to rely on their depth to try to wear down their opponent as 11 players average at least nine minutes of action in what is the No. 1 ranked offense in the WAC (73.6 ppg) with the largest scoring margin (+9.2).
In the most recent win over San Jose State, the starters and the bench each scored exactly 38 points in the 76-54 victory.
Six different players are averaging at least seven points per game this season in Alex Hamilton (7.5), Brandon Gibson (7.3), Kenneth Smith (7.6), Cordarius Johnson (9.6), Kenyon McNeail (8.7) and Raheem Appleby (14.6).
The matchup will be televised live on KMYU and ESPN Full Court as well as being streamed live on ESPN3 with Mychal Clanton handling play-by-play duties and Brooks Hansen providing color commentary.
If Bulldog fans in the Ruston area cannot get the game at home or just want to watch with other Bulldog fans, they can head to the Dawg House Sports Grill on Homer Ave. for a watch party.
The contest will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network as well, including KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) and KVCL 92.1 FM (Winnfield) with the pregame show beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play. Fans can also access live audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Men's Basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.