Bulldogs Set to Battle Blazers on CBS Sports Network
Feb. 4, 2015
RUSTON - Only three weeks removed from facing each other in Ruston, Louisiana Tech and UAB will battle it out on the hardwood again, this time in Bartow Arena in Birmingham on Thursday night at 8 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network with John Sadak and Chris Walker calling the action.
Both teams have reached the midway point of the conference schedule. LA Tech (17-5, 8-1 C-USA) is tied for first place atop the league standings while UAB (11-11, 7-2 C-USA) is only one game back.
"I am thrilled that we are sitting here with one loss," head coach Michael White said. "At the end of November and early December, I would have thought that where we are now would have been the absolute best case scenario. There is no time to rest or celebrate because this weekend is going to be extremely difficult for us. I am really pleased with the progress our guys have made.
"We have been pretty good but just like most other teams in the league, we are a work in progress. We have gotten a lot better defensively in the last six weeks."
If the last matchup is any indication, Thursday could come down to the wire. The Blazers shot a blistering 58 percent from the field, scored 36 points in the paint and had a plus-seven rebounding margin, but the Bulldogs overcame all of it by forcing 20 turnovers in the 74-71 victory.
The game was tied multiple times, including at 71-71 with 2:46 to play. From there, UAB missed all three of their jumpers and LA Tech punched in three free throws to come away with the win.
The Bulldog defense has stepped it up a notch since then, especially in the past three games where they have held their opponent to less than 60 points each time.
On offense, it has been more of a collective effort scoring the basketball. In the most recent game against Marshall, the Bulldogs had a season-high five players score in double figures.
One of those players was Kenneth Smith who was named C-USA and LSWA Player of the Week after posting two double-doubles. The senior point guard dished out a season-best 12 assists in both games and nearly notched a triple-double by adding a season-high eight boards versus the Herd.
Since the Blazers first conference loss came at the hands of the Bulldogs, they have won four of the last five with the only other blemish coming in a two-point loss at UTEP.
"They have good players, execute well and have an ability to make hard shots, just like we have at times," White said. "Another handful of teams in our league have the ability to do so as well. We have to plan on every offensive and defensive possession being difficult for us in Birmingham on Thursday.
"One big similarity is that we have both come a long way from the beginning of the year. I would like to think we are putting it together at the right time, at least to a certain extent. We will see how good we can continue to be. I know UAB has improved as much as anyone in our league, including us."
UAB is a perfect 4-0 at home in league games and has been one of the hottest shooting teams in league play, ranking in the top three in field goal percentage (47.0), three-point field goal percentage (39.7) and free throw shooting percentage (81.2).
They continue to be led in scoring by Robert Brown who averages 13.4 points per game. Brown had a team-high 16 points in the last meeting against the `Dogs.
Fans are reminded that tickets for the 2015 Conference USA basketball tournament which will be hosted by UAB in Birmingham (March 11-14) are on sale for $180 which includes tickets to every game (both men's and women's sessions). To purchase your tickets to the tournament or to any Louisiana Tech basketball home game, call the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, email email@example.com or online HERE.
Live audio of the game is available via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at LATechSports.com. The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield). The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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