Rematch in Philadelphia for Spot in NIT Final Four
March 24, 2015
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - No. 3 seed Louisiana Tech takes on top-seeded Temple in a Wednesday night showdown at 8 p.m. CT inside the Liacouras Center with a spot in the NIT Final Four in New York City on the line.
The rematch of the second game of the regular season will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with Bob Wischusen and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.
LA Tech (27-8) advanced with an impressive 84-72 win over Texas A&M in College Station. The Conference USA Player of the Year Kenneth Smith scored 16 points and registered eight assists in leading the Bulldogs to their second straight NIT quarterfinal appearance.
Backcourt teammate Alex Hamilton added a game-high 25 points, combining with Speedy to go 14-of-23 from the field and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in helping the `Dogs post a second straight game of 80+ points.
The Bulldogs took full advantage of the opportunity to play an SEC opponent much like they have done so in the past while in the NIT. Last season in the second round of the tourney, LA Tech flexed its muscle again by downing the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.
The next opponent Temple (25-10) is a completely different team from the last time LA Tech played them. A total of three Owls players -- Jesse Morgan, Devin Coleman and Jaylen Bond -- did not play due to NCAA transfer rules or injury.
TU narrowly missed out on receiving a bid for the NCAA Tournament, being one of the first four out which gave the Owls a No. 1 seed in the NIT. They are led by head coach Fran Dunphy who recently earned his 500th career win.
On the court, they are led by senior guard Will Cummings, a first team All-AAC selection. He had 20 points and nine rebounds in the first meeting. He has exploded in the NIT, scoring a total of 51 points in wins over Bucknell and George Washington.
For the Bulldogs, it has been a collective offensive effort in the tournament. A total of five players are averaging at least 12 points per game in the victories over Central Michigan and Texas A&M.
Back on Nov. 17, Temple got the best of LA Tech in the first ever meeting on the hardwood between the two schools. The Bulldogs had a four-point halftime lead, but the Owls pulled out the 82-75 decision to hand LA Tech its first loss of the 2014-15 season.
The struggles came mostly in the second stanza with LA Tech shooting just 13-of-33 from the field, but the backbreaker was at the free throw line where the `Dogs shot just 46 percent (12-of-26) for the whole contest with four misses on the front end of one-and-ones.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the charity stripe was very kind to Temple who got there early and often and took a total of 49 shots from the line, making 34 of them. Raheem Appleby finished with a game-high 26 points.
Fans can access live audio of the game 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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