LA Tech Turns the Page to League-Leader Middle Tennessee
Jan. 27, 2017
RUSTON – After a disappointing loss on Thursday, Louisiana Tech will turn the page to Saturday as the Bulldogs prepare to take on league-leader Middle Tennessee at 5 p.m. inside the Murphy Center in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.
LA Tech (14-7, 6-2 C-USA) is currently sitting in a three-way tie for second place. The Bulldogs have yet to lose back-to-back games this season. To keep it that way, they will have to do so without the services of their second-leading scorer Jacobi Boykins who has been suspended by the league for his altercation with a UAB player on Thursday.
The ‘Dogs season-best four-game winning streak came to an end in a 79-70 loss to the Blazers in Birmingham. When looking at stats alone it was cold-shooting that doomed LA Tech. The team went just 5-of-24 from three-point range and two of those five came during the final six-minute stretch with four players on the court.
Senior forward Erik McCree led the way, posting his conference-best 10th double-double of the season with a team-high 16 points and 13 rebounds. He currently ranks eighth in the league in scoring average (17.1) and second in rebounding average (9.0).
One player who will likely need to step up in place of Boykins is freshman shooting guard Jalen Harris. He ranks third on the team in scoring with an average of 10.6 points per contest. He was one of the four Bulldogs in double digits last game, tallying 13 off the bench.
Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee (18-3, 8-0 C-USA) is riding an eight-game winning streak into Saturday with all eight coming in conference to produce a perfect 8-0 mark.
The Blue Raiders have a three-headed monster on offensive in the form of Arkansas transfer JaCorey Williams (17.2 points per game), Giddy Potts (15.2 points per game) and Reggie Upshaw (14.7 points per game).
MT is one of the most efficient teams in the country, both offensively and defensively. They rank in the top 25 in the country in field goal percentage (48.7) while also surrendering only 10.4 turnovers per game.
They also have the 30th-best scoring defense, allowing just 64.0 points per game. Only three league teams out of eight have been able to score over 60 points against them.
LA Tech has dominated the all-time series versus Middle Tennessee, owning an 11-2 advantage. The Bulldogs have won six straight by an average of 13.2 points. They were a 73-63 winner last season in Ruston and also a 73-62 winner in 2015, the last time the two teams faced off in Murfreesboro.
The game can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) as well as on the LA Tech X Mobile app. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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