March 7, 2012
RUSTON, La. - After a year absence, Louisiana Tech will play in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. CT as the Bulldogs take on Utah State in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Tech enters the tournament with a 16-15 record and tied for fifth in the WAC at 6-8 with Hawaii. Holding the tiebreaker over the Rainbow Warriors, LA Tech was slotted as the fifth seed in the tournament.
In the WAC Tournament, the Bulldogs are 4-9 all-time and have gone as far as the semifinals three times including the last two times they have qualified for the tournament in 2009 and 2010.
WAC Freshman of the Year and second team all-WAC selection Raheem Appleby paces the Bulldogs in scoring at 13.8 point per game while senior Trevor Gaskins, an all-Defensive team pick, and sophomore Cordarius Johnson are both averaging double-digits with 11.0 and 10.1 points per contest, respectively.
Two Tech players are grabbing at least four rebounds per game led by junior Brandon Gibson's 4.5 per contest and Johnson is pulling down 4.0 a game.
Ranking fifth in the WAC and 110th in the nation with 4.4 assists per game is freshman Kenneth Smith. His 38 steals are three away from breaking the freshman program record for steals in a season.
As a team, the Bulldogs are scoring 69.4 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting including 32.8 percent from three-point range. They are making 7.7 three-pointer per game that is first in the conference and 50th in the country.
Utah State enters with a 17-14 mark having won three-straight and finished with an 8-6 record in conference play to give them the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Preston Medlin, a first team all-WAC selection, leads the Aggies in scoring at 16.6 point per game and is pacing the conference in three-pointer percentage at 43.5 percent. Brockeith Pane is adding 12.4 points per contest while Kyisean Reed is contributing 9.8 points per game and shots a WAC-high 61.7 percent from the field.
Morgan Grim and Pane pace the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg) and assists (4.0 apg), respectively.
The Aggies are scoring 67.1 points per game while making 47.3 percent of their field goal attempts including 36.9 percent from beyond the arc. They allow 64.0 points per contest that is the lowest among all the teams in the WAC.
The game can be heard on KXKZ 107.5 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM with the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz calling the action beginning with the pregame show at 10:00 p.m. CT. LA Tech All-Access subscribers can listen to the contest online at LATechSports.com, the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics.
Live stats will be available through the WAC men's basketball GameDay Central page which can be viewed through the link at the top of the page. Twitter users can follow sports information director Phillip Pongratz for updates of the game at www.twitter.com/LATechPPongratz.