Bulldogs Go for Win No. 20 on Saturday Night
Feb. 13, 2015
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech will be going for season win No. 20 on Saturday night as the Bulldogs take on the visiting FIU Panthers at 6 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
A victory would mark the team's third straight 20-win season, something that has not been done since 1989-92, but the bigger incentive for LA Tech (19-6, 10-2 C-USA) is to remain at the top of the Conference USA standings.
The Bulldogs' 65-54 win over Florida Atlantic on Thursday in conjunction with the wild night of league basketball led to them moving into sole possession of first place.
Turnover margin played the biggest role in the `Dogs 25th straight win at the TAC. They forced 16 turnovers while only committing five which marked the seventh time this season a game has ended with a +10 turnover margin.
Leading that charge was the floor general Kenneth Smith who finished the game with 10 points, eight assists, two steals and zero turnovers during 33 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Michale Kyser served as the usual rim protector recording his usual three blocks to go along with 10 points of his own.
Having just five total turnovers proved to be a little bit more of a rarity as it was the lowest total by a Bulldog team since Jan. 26, 2013 when they only committed four in a contest at Utah State.
An improving LA Tech defense will have its hands full on Saturday against another stellar defense in FIU (12-12, 5-6 C-USA) who is coming off a 73-71 overtime victory at Southern Miss. The Panthers trailed by as many as 13, but rallied to force the extra period and come out victorious.
FIU held USM to just 41.1 percent shooting from the field which is actually a little above what they normally surrender. As a team, they rank first in the league in field goal percentage defense (.398).
On offense, the Panthers are led by guard Dennis Mavin who netted 16 against the Golden Eagles, all coming in the second stanza, while playing all 45 minutes of the contest. He is currently averaging 17.6 points per game which ranks second in C-USA.
The other part of their one-two punch is big man Adrian Diaz who ranks first in the league in field goal percentage (.639) and is second behind only Kyser in blocks per game (2.75).
LA Tech used a monster 22-0 run in the first half in last year's meeting to down the Panthers in Ruston, 85-51. The Bulldogs currently hold a 4-3 edge in the all-time series.
Fans can take advantage of a Valentine's Day ticket special by getting two tickets in the lower bowl for 40 dollars. There will also be a pizza party with Champ for kids club members only and it is one dollar hot dog night.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or online HERE.
Live video and 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 pregame show will start at 5:30 p.m. with the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz calling the play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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