Bulldogs and Panthers Clash on Saturday Night
Feb. 17, 2017
RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team will be going for win No. 20 on the season Saturday night when they host FIU at 6 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
LA Tech (19-8, 11-3 C-USA) is riding a season-best five-game winning streak and remain alone in second in the league standings after posting a dominant 95-69 win on Thursday against Florida Atlantic.
During the streak, senior Erik McCree has been the anchor, averaging 19.8 points per game. However, the victory over FAU was more of a youth movement as the freshman duo of Jalen Harris and DaQuan Bracey combined for 35 points.
Harris came off the bench to register a game-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The Duncanville, Texas native had two of the team’s season-high eight dunks, one of which was No. 6 on ESPN’s Top 10 plays.
Meanwhile, Bracey recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists. He also added a career-best four steals. The Bulldogs ultimately totaled 11 steals while forcing 19 turnovers.
Along with McCree and Jacobi Boykins, Harris is also averaging double figures in scoring with an average of 10.2 points per game. Bracey is not far behind, averaging 9.3 points per contest while also leading the squad with 5.8 assists per game.
LA Tech only took 13 three-pointers in the game but connected on seven of them to continue its hot shooting from behind the arc. They are shooting a staggering 46 percent from three-point range during the five-game winning streak.
Saturday’s opponent FIU (6-20, 2-11 C-USA) is currently in 13th place in the standings with just two conference wins that came against UAB and North Texas. Two of the Panthers losses have come in overtime, including a 69-66 setback at Southern Miss on Thursday.
The team has now played five overtime games this season and has lost all five. They have also yet to win a road game, posting a 0-13 mark away from Miami.
Despite the record, the Panthers have a dynamic one-two punch in guard Donte McGill and forward Michael Kessens. McGill ranks fourth in the conference in scoring with an average of 18.9 points per game. Meanwhile, Kessens (graduate transfer from Alabama) leads the league in rebounding with an average of 9.2 boards per contest.
LA Tech and FIU split the season series three times when league foes in the Sun Belt Conference (1998-2001). Since becoming conference opponents again in 2013-14 in C-USA, the Bulldogs have won two of the three meetings.
The last meeting went the way of the Panthers last season in Miami.
Fans can access live video via the Internet by subscribing to CUSA.tv. The game can also be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) as well as on the LA Tech X Mobile app. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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