LA Tech Heads to Houston to Face Rice
Feb. 3, 2016
RUSTON – The first of two Texas road trips begins Thursday night when Louisiana Tech travels down to Houston to take on Rice at 7 p.m. inside Tudor Fieldhouse.
LA Tech (16-5, 5-3 C-USA) looks to extend its three-game winning streak and keep pace in the Conference USA race where they currently sit in fourth.
Something else the Bulldogs hope to keep going is their balanced scoring attack. All five starters have scored in double figures in the last two games. Examine even further and the starting lineup is averaging double-digit points ever since Merrill Holden was inserted four games ago.
“Merrill Holden has added another dimension to our game,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “He is now starting to get into that rhythm and play like we saw him in October. He is becoming more and more comfortable and we are happy with his development.
“Every experience is an opportunity for future growth, whether it be a road trip or a home swing. We know the last time we went on the road for two games we did not come away feeling very good about it. We need to learn from that in our preparation and in our mindset.”
The sophomore guards combined to hit nine three-pointers, continuing their hot shooting from beyond the arc.
While the team has been heating up from three-point range, they have also been defending the three extremely well. LA Tech currently ranks first in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.0) and 19th in the country.
Limiting the number of threes attempted and contesting without fouling will be part of the game plan versus Rice (7-14, 3-6 C-USA) who has shot the second most threes in the conference.
“It is something we talk about all of the time, limiting that type of punch you get from making three-point shots,” Konkol said. “We need to really set our defense and prevent that dribble penetration that turns into kick-out threes for so many teams and Rice is no different. We need to really contain their scoring. They have young, talented players that can score it.”
The Owls hit 11 three-pointers in a 95-87 win over North Texas to snap a three-game losing skid. They pack the highest scoring one-two punch in the league in Marcus Evans (five-time C-USA Freshman of the Week honoree) and Egor Koulechov.
Evans ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 19.7 points per game while Koulechov is sixth with 16.7 points per game.
LA Tech leads the all-time series, 11-5, having won four straight including last year’s meeting in the C-USA Tournament.
Fans can access live video of the game through the C-USA Digital Network. Live audio will be available via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com. The game can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KRMD 1340 AM (Shreveport). The “Voice of the Bulldogs” Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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