Battle of I-20 Set for Saturday Night

Cordarius Johnson
 
Cordarius Johnson
 

Nov. 23, 2012

GameDay Central | Game Notes

RUSTON - After sweeping three games in three days in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, the Louisiana Tech (4-1) men's basketball team turns their attention to an I-20 showdown versus longtime rival Louisiana-Monroe (0-1) Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center.

The Last Meeting
Louisiana Tech73
Louisiana-Monroe71
December 3, 2011
Monroe, La.
Bulldogs Take Down ULM 73-71
The Louisiana Tech men's basketball team (3-4) escaped with a 73-71 victory over I-20 foe Louisiana Monroe (1-7) 73-71 in front of a crowd of 2,013 as a half-court shot from the Warhawks hit off the back of the rim at the buzzer as freshman guard Raheem Appleby (Jacksonville, Ark.) scored a game-high 19 points for the Bulldogs.

The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network, including ESPN 97.7 FM (Ruston) and KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. Kyle Roberts will do play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis. Fans can also access the audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.

Two four-game winning streaks will be on the line on Karl Malone Court as the Bulldogs have won four straight games this season over UALR, Troy, Southeast Missouri State and Chattanooga and have also won four straight over the Warhawks ever since the two teams separated by 30 miles renewed their rivalry back in 2008.

"Through five games, I am pleased with our defensive progress," said head coach Michael White. "We must continue to mature and execute better on the offensive end."

Another streak that will be at stake is LA Tech's 21-game unbeaten record in non-conference games inside the TAC which dates back to December of 2007.

Looking to pick up win No. 22 will be the usual suspects in the starting lineup with four guards in Raheem Appleby, Kenneth Smith, Cordarius Johnson and Brandon Gibson, plus forward Michale Kyser.

 

 

Appleby is coming off a matched career-high of 30 points against the Mocs and is averaging a team-high 18.6 per game. At point guard is the reigning WAC Player of the Week `Speedy' Smith who leads the team in rebounds (6.2), assists (5.8) and steals (2.4) per game.

The Bulldogs hold the all-time series lead over the Warhawks 50-36 in what is the fifth oldest rivalry game in Bulldog history. From 1953-1991, the two teams played each other twice every year, and sometimes three times just for good measure. Since the game's revival four years ago, LA Tech has come out on top every time but by an average winning margin of only 6 points, including a 73-71 squeaker last season in Monroe at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

ULM has only one game under its belt for the 2012-13 season which resulted in an 85-51 loss to Oklahoma. Head coach Keith Richard is in his third season with the Warhawks and brings plenty of unknown into Ruston for coach White and Co.

"We are somewhat unfamiliar with ULM, because they have a few new faces and they've only played one game," said White. "As always, they'll be physical and disciplined. It will be a tough test, as it was last season. Last year, we were able to build a small lead and were fortunate to hold on."

One player the Bulldogs will need to get familiar with real quickly is Warhawk guard Amos Olatayo who scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in their season opener versus the Sooners.

LA Tech has already posted two wins over the Sun Belt Conference, and will still have one more on their schedule after Saturday night when they travel to UALR in mid-December.

Once the battle of I-20 is over, Bulldog fans are encouraged to head over to Joe Aillet Stadium for the Bulldogs versus Spartans game watching party to be shown live on the Community Trust Bank Vision Video Board (a.k.a. "Dawgzilla"). The stadium will open around 9 p.m. CT or after the conclusion of the basketball game, whichever comes first.

For complete coverage of LA Tech Men's Basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.