LA Tech Continues Home Stand with Saturday Tilt versus UTSA
Feb. 27, 2015
RUSTON - Home court advantage has played a huge part in Louisiana Tech's success the past few years and they hope it continues on Saturday night as the Bulldogs play host to UTSA at 6 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
A lot is on the line as a potential 28th consecutive home victory would guarantee at least a share of the Conference USA regular season title for LA Tech (22-7, 13-3 C-USA).
The Bulldogs managed to put themselves in the situation to remain atop the league standings and control their own destiny by coming up with a big 77-60 win over UTEP on Thursday.
A key part of the game was the efficiency on offense, shooting 45 percent from the field and from beyond the arc, led by Raheem Appleby and Kenneth Smith who each notched 17 points apiece to pace the `Dogs.
"Our fans were incredible," head coach Michael White about Thursday's atmosphere. "They were as much of a factor as they have ever been, from the tip. You could feel it. Our guys responded. I thought they had fun with it and I thought our fans were as good as they have ever been.
"My challenge to our fans is to bring a friend Saturday, we need you. We are very appreciative of the fans effort. If we can somehow win a championship, they are a part of it. They are a part of this huge home court advantage that we have had and this huge run we have had at the Thomas Assembly Center."
Saturday's opponent UTSA (13-13, 7-8 C-USA) had won three in a row, including a big victory at home versus Old Dominion, but have since dropped three straight after Thursday night's 70-66 defeat at the hands of Southern Miss.
The Roadrunners erased a 15-point second half deficit with a 20-0 run, but fell in the contest to slide into a tie for eighth place in the league standings.
UTSA has four players who average double figures in scoring, led by senior forward Jeromie Hill who recently became the school's career rebounding leader. He averages 16.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game with both stats ranking in the top five in C-USA.
The goal for the Bulldogs is to avoid any sort of letdown against the Roadrunners after such an emotional victory versus the Miners.
"The win [Thursday] put us in the position to where Saturday's game is very meaningful," White said. "With a championship on the line and the conference tournament on the horizon, our focus has to be better than it has been all year. This is an eight month season for teams that go on a foreign tour. We are sitting here with a couple of weeks left. We cannot have any distractions. We should not have any excuses."
This will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. In the previous game on Jan. 10, Appleby notched a game-high 25 points to help the `Dogs pick up an 84-72 road victory in San Antonio.
He needed only nine made field goals to record another 20+ scoring game, including five three-pointers. LA Tech as a team was 29-of-53 from the field and scored a season-high 51 points in the second stanza.
The day is being declared LA Tech Football Day as the Heart of Dallas Bowl champion Bulldogs will be recognized at halftime. There will also be free Johnny's pizza for the first 200 students and one lucky full-time student will win 500 dollars.
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 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 "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz and Jack Thigpen will call the action.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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