LA Tech Faces First True Road Test at Alabama

Nov. 28, 2017

GameDay Central | Game Notes

RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team will take its undefeated record into Tuscaloosa on Wednesday for its first true road game of the 2017-18 season as they take on No. 24 Alabama at 7 p.m. inside Coleman Coliseum.

The matchup will be broadcast on the SEC Network Plus and can be seen on Watch ESPN or on the WatchESPN app with Eli Gold and Wimp Sanderson calling the action.

Fans can also listen to the Voice of the Bulldogs Dave Nitz and Jack Thigpen call the game on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) as well as on the Louisiana Tech X mobile app.

LA Tech (5-0) has won five straight to begin the season for the 14th time in school history. They also began the year 5-0 in head coach Eric Konkol’s first year at the helm in 2015.

The Bulldogs remained unbeaten thanks to coming away with the 2017 Riviera Division Cancun Challenge championship this past week in Cancun, Mexico.

First, they defeated George Mason (77-64) to reach the finals where they took on unbeaten Evansville. The team found itself down by seven, its largest deficit of the game, with five minutes to go and ended the game on a 12-3 run that was capped off by a game-winning three-pointer from junior guard Derric Jean with 0.7 seconds left to complete a 63-61 come-from-behind victory.

Jean was named to the All-Tournament Team, coming off the bench in both contests to average 15 points per game. He is currently one of four Bulldogs averaging double figures in scoring at 11.6 points per contest.

 

 

Senior guard Jacobi Boykins, who had the offensive rebound and assist to Jean on the game winner, was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 13 points and eight rebounds.

Boykins is currently averaging 14.2 points per game and is 21 points shy of becoming the 40th player in program history to register 1,000 career points.

Also averaging double-digit points are the other two backcourt starters, Jalen Harris and DaQuan Bracey, who are averaging 17.0 and 14.8 points per contest, respectively.

As much as their offensive is carrying the team, it has been the rejuvenation of the defense that has helped the most. Through the first two games, the defense allowed 83 points per game and shooting averages of 44 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range.

In the last three games though, the defense has allowed an average of 61 points per game. The three opponents have combined to shoot just 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep.

Defense will be critical against an Alabama (5-1) team who is ranked fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (53 percent) and 30th in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (41 percent).

The Crimson Tide were winners of their first five games before falling in their last contest to No. 14 Minnesota by a final score of 89-84 in the Barclays Classic championship game.

They are led by their freshman phenom, Collin Sexton, who is averaging 25.2 points per game, tied for the fifth most in the country. A consensus top-10 recruit coming out of Georgia, Sexton was recently named the SEC Freshman of the Week after dropping 40 points versus the Golden Gophers.

This will mark the seventh straight season that LA Tech will face an SEC opponent on its schedule with two of those meetings coming during postseason play.

The Bulldogs are winless against only five SEC teams, including Alabama which they are 0-5 against. The last meeting came in 2005 with LA Tech falling, 73-63.

Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.

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