LA Tech Hosts North Texas for Saturday Night Tilt
Feb. 7, 2014
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech had its 19-game home winning streak, the sixth longest in program history, come to an end earlier this season.
Since then though, the Bulldogs have started a new winning streak in the Thomas Assembly Center of nine straight which they hope to continue on Saturday night at 6 p.m. versus North Texas.
It took a come-from-behind effort to keep the streak intact and stamp program win No. 1,250 into the record book this past Thursday as LA Tech (19-5, 7-2 C-USA) trailed much of the game and were down five with three minutes to go.
The Bulldogs then used the electric atmosphere to propel itself to a 14-1 run en route to the victory over Tulsa.
The TAC has been an extremely difficult place for teams to come in and leave with a W. Since the arrival of head coach Michael White in 2011, the `Dogs are 35-5 at home with a scoring margin of 16.6.
They have won 28 of the last 29 games played in the 8,000-seat arena with 12 of those victories coming by at least 20 points.
"We've had great success in the Thomas Assembly Center, and we certainly hope that it continues," said White. "Our crowd continues to increase in both numbers and enthusiasm."
Jaron Johnson came up huge for the `Dogs yet again, starting in place of the injured Raheem Appleby. J. Johnson tied his career-high with 18 points, marking the fifth straight game he has scored in double figures.
Prior to Appleby's setback, the senior was averaging 6.3 points per game. Since, he is second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.0 points per game, helping lead the No. 1 scoring offense (84.0) in Conference USA.
The next opponent, North Texas (11-11, 2-6 C-USA), has not had very much luck in Ruston either. The Dogs' have won eight straight over the Mean Green and are 10-1 at home versus NT.
The Mean Green won seven of nine games to close out the non-conference portion of their schedule, including a 61-41 thumping of Texas A&M in College Station.
But since the start of its first season in Conference USA, North Texas is 2-6 and has lost four of its last five after suffering a 75-70 setback to Rice this past Thursday night.
NT cut what was once a 17-point lead for the Owls down to two points, but could not get any closer as the opponent sank eight free throws in the final 46 seconds to hand the Mean Green the loss.
"North Texas is a talented group that plays extremely hard," said White. "They are very athletic, and they are terrific in transition."
The two Williams' headline the Mean Green roster. Jordan Williams is averaging a team-high 12.5 points per game, but has stepped up during league play to average 15.6 points per game, the sixth most of all players.
Alzee Williams is second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.9. His numbers have started to go in the opposite direction though as he is scoring just 7.5 points per game in league play.
Aside from Southern Miss, the most meetings for Louisiana Tech versus a Conference USA opponent is North Texas. The two teams have played 25 times with the first matchup coming in 1952.
Most of the battles took place in the 80's, but for one season (2000-01), the two teams were conference rivals in the Sun Belt prior to the Bulldogs joining the WAC.
The contest can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM. The pregame show will start at 5:30 p.m. CT with the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz doing play by play and Jack Thigpen providing 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.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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