Feb. 1, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech swept through the first wave of WAC play without a loss. Now the Bulldogs open up the second wave this Saturday as they take on UT Arlington at 7 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
LA Tech (18-3, 9-0 WAC) is coming off two impressive road victories at San Jose State (76-54) and at Utah State (51-48) that extended their winning streak to 10 games, tied for the third longest active streak in the entire country.
"We like to look at it as a positive where it's just a bunch more familiarity with each opponent," said head coach Michael White about having now played each conference opponent once. "Obviously the teams we've played at home we will have to go play on the road now and vice versa, but coaches from each staff now feel like we have an advantage with that film in hand."
The win over the Aggies in Logan, Utah was both historic and atypical for the Bulldogs.
Louisiana Tech had never beaten USU at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in seven tries, but that changed on the eighth attempt behind Brandon Gibson's season-high 20 points and Raheem Appleby's game-winning three-pointer before 8,530 screaming Aggie fans.
In the three games prior to Utah State, the Bulldog offense had come out of the gates sluggish and finished strong, but on that night they jumped out to a 35-22 halftime lead on 46.7 percent field goal shooting and struggled down the stretch scoring just enough, 16 points, in the second stanza to hang on to the three-point win.
UT Arlington has one of the best defenses in the country, ranking 48th in scoring defense (60.4) and eighth in field goal percentage defense (37.2). And despite their overall record, the Mavericks are a staggering 8-2 on the road this season.
"[UT Arlington] does a tremendous job pressuring you in the half court, keeping the ball on one side of the court," said White. "Their frontline is very versatile."
It was a defensive battle on Jan. 5 between the two schools in Arlington as the Mavericks held a seven-point lead with 2:35 to go before the Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run the rest of the way to grab the dramatic 55-52 come-from-behind win at the College Park Center.
"I thought overall we were pretty good at their place," said White. "We played with a ton of energy. We missed some block outs on the defensive glass that we will try to correct. Offensively, we shot 28 percent. That was the glaring weakness at Arlington that we will have to correct. We have to find ways to get interior production against them."
The Saturday contest is being dubbed "Faith And Family Night" which will include a halftime performance by gospel and hip-hop artist and motivational speaker "Big Al."
Free pizza will be available to the first 200 students by showing their ID at the concessions stand. Free jambalaya will also be served to all fans while supplies last at the main entrance of the TAC starting at 5:30 p.m. sponsored by Brennan Dodge.
Free bounce houses, sponsored by Ruston's First Baptist Church and Concord Baptist Association, will be located outside the main entrance of the TAC as well for all the little Bulldog fans starting at 5:30 p.m. as well.
The contest will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network as well, including KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. CT. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play while Jack Thigpen will provide analysis. Fans can also access live video and audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
For ticket information, call 318-257-3631, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto 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.