Nov. 24, 2011
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech men's basketball team will be spending Thanksgiving weekend in Laramie, Wyo. to compete in the Jim Thorpe Classic against Maryland Eastern Shore, Portland State and Wyoming.
LA Tech (1-1) opens the round-robin tournament against UMES (1-4) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT, plays the Vikings (2-1) at 5:30 p.m. CT Saturday and finishes up against the host Cowboys (3-1) Sunday night at 8 p.m CT.
Head coach Michael White and the Bulldogs are looking to get back into the win column after falling to future Western Athletic Conference opponent UT-Arlington on Saturday.
Senior guard Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta, Ga.) leads Tech in scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounds (6.5 rpg) while sophomore Cordarius Johnson (Coushatta, La.) and Lonnie Smith (Birmingham, Ala.) are also averaging double-figures at 13.5 and 10.5 points per game, respectively.
Coming off the bench the first two games, freshman Michale Kyser (Lancaster, Texas) has averaged 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per contest. Fellow classmate Kenneth Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.) paces the WAC with 5.5 assists per game.
Maryland Eastern Shore
The Hawks enter the Jim Thorpe Classic with a 1-4 record after falling to George Washington (64-48), Tulane (73-52), Rice (81-49 and Kansas State (92-50). The lone win of the season came at home against American University in overtime 64-62.
Louis Bell and Percy Woods lead UMES in scoring at 13.2 and 10.0 points per contest, respectively. On the boards, Tyler Hines has grabbed an average of 6.8 rebounds per game while Woods has dished out 4.4 assists per contest.
Portland State starts the weekend with a 2-1 record after defeating future WAC member Seattle (66-65) and Linfield College (101-64) at home. The Vikings began the season with a loss at Denver, a future WAC member, 69-61.
Four players are averaging double-figures in scoring with Chehales Tapscott pacing the team at 16.3 points per contest, followed by Nate Lozeau and Charles Odum at 15.3 points per game and Gary Winston with 13.0 points per contest. Tapscott and Lozeau also pace the team in rebounds at 10.3 and 10.0 per contest, respectively.
Tech and the Vikings have met once before with the Bulldogs winning 63-50 in 1980 at the Rainbow Classic in Portland, Ore.
Entering the Jim Thorpe Classic, Wyoming is 3-1 on the year with wins over Western State (78-39), Northern Colorado (75-56) and South Dakota (67-56) with the loss coming at Green Bay (52-44).
Francisco Cruz (14.5 ppg) leads the Cowboys in scoring and Leona Washington (11.5 ppg) is also averaging in double-figures along with pacing the team in rebounds (6.0 rpg). JayDee Luster (2.8 apg) leads Wyoming in assists.
The Cowboys have won all three meetings in the series by 18 points with the last contest being on Dec. 27, 1998 in Laramie 91-73.
Friday's and Sunday's games will be broadcast on KXKZ 107.5 FM and Saturday's contest will be on ESPN 97.7 FM with Kyle Roberts calling the action. LA Tech All-Access members can listen to the game online through the GameDay Central Page. Twitter users can get live updates by following sports information contact Phillip Pongratz at www.twitter.com/LATechPPongratz.