Battle of the Bulldogs on Friday Night
Nov. 27, 2014
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech use to have a heated conference rivalry with the Bulldogs of Fresno State until both programs joined other leagues. Then last season in the National Invitation Tournament, LA Tech proved to be the top dogs when they upended the Bulldogs of Georgia.
Now LA Tech will face off against the Bulldogs of a different variety in Samford on Friday night at 7 p.m. to cap a four-game home stand in the Thomas Assembly Center
The matchup will be broadcast on ASN. Fans can also listen to the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz call play by play and Jack Thigpen do analysis on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) or at LATechSports.com/AllAccess.
LA Tech (4-1) is coming off a weekend sweep of the sub-host region of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, extending its home winning streak to 16 and victories in 35 of the last 36.
The full court press may not be forcing as many turnovers as head coach Michael White would like at this point, but the half-court defense has been stout. The `Dogs held American to 44 total points and Presbyterian to 48, marking the first time a Bulldog team held back-to-back opponents to under 50 since 2001.
"I was really proud Friday and Saturday night with our attention to detail," White said. "We needed a lot of focus on such a structured opponent. Sunday was just about finishing. It was a workman's like approach. There are a lot of things we can continue to get better on, but we took care of business."
The same five players have started all five games thus far this season, but it has been a collective effort with nine Bulldogs averaging at least nine minutes per game. In the scoring category, Raheem Appleby paces the way with 15.8 points per game followed closely by Erik McCree with 14.0 points per game.
The opposing Bulldogs have notched wins over Austin Peay and Missouri-Kansas City under first year head coach Scott Padgett. Padgett is a former collegiate standout at the University of Kentucky, an NCAA national champion and first-round NBA draft pick.
"Samford is coming off a really impressive win at UMKC," White said. "They press and play fast and are led by a friend of mine and former Kentucky great Scott Padgett. They will be similar to Morehead State in some respects as both Scott and Sean played for Rick Pitino."
Samford (2-4) boasts three seniors (Michael Bradley, Brandon Hayman and Tyler Hood), as well as a trio of juniors, all of which transferred to Samford from a junior college in the summer (Marcus Johnson, Darius Jones-Gibson and Jamal Shabazz).
Friday's contest will mark the third straight year the Bulldogs play a Southern Conference opponent. In 2012, they defeated host-team Chattanooga in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Then in 2013 they overpowered UNCG, 99-62, in the first round of the Gulf Coast Showcase in Fort Myers, Florida.
Fans can take advantage of a 2-for-1 football/basketball combo ticket. Fans who already own tickets to Saturday's football game can gain entrance into Friday night's basketball game for free by showing the ticket at the Thomas Assembly Center doors.
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