Nov. 30, 2013
RUSTON - The road has been good to Louisiana Tech recently with four straight wins and a Gulf Coast Showcase championship.
The Bulldogs look to continue this road success on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. when they take on Jackson State in the Lee E. Williams AAC in Jackson, Miss.
LA Tech (5-1) recently came back from Estero, Fla. where they earned the honor of the being the 2013 champions of the inaugural Gulf Coast Showcase tournament.
The event was an eight-team bracket and LA Tech came in as the No. 1 seed. After rolling through the opening round (99-62 win over UNCG) and semifinals (103-78 win over UIC), the `Dogs used stifling defense and clutch free throw shooting down the stretch to defeat St. Bonaventure for the title, 76-72.
While playing through a hip injury and after scoring zero points in the opening round game, Raheem Appleby exploded to score a team-high 26 in the semis and a team-high 23 in the finals to receive the Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament MVP.
Chris Anderson was also named to the All-Tournament team after combining for 42 points in the event. His effort was also limited by an injury suffered in the finals.
"We haven't been able to spend much time on the court the last couple days in hopes of getting our guys some rest and rehab after the Gulf Coast Showcase," said head coach Michael White. "That said we hope that the time off is a positive and that we'll be able to overcome less prep work."
Only six games into the 2013-14 season, LA Tech is already averaging 91.3 points per game after having a four-game stretch (Centenary, Central Arkansas, UNCG and UIC) where the `Dogs scored at least 90 points in each contest.
"We've settled in a bit more offensively since the opener as expected, and we're making better decisions on both ends," said White. "Jackson State plays extremely hard and has very good team speed and athleticism. They won at Air Force and almost won at Mississippi State on Wednesday. We'll have to play well to win on the road. "
Six of Jackson State's seven games this season have been on the road, and the Tigers have come away with two wins -- at Air Force, 84-82, and at UT Martin, 68-64.
Three of their five losses though have come by single digits, including Mississippi State who they took to the limit, but fell short, 58-56, as guard Julysses Nobles missed a desperation three-pointer as time expired on the scoreboard.
Nobles led all scorers with a 22-point effort. He went 8-21 from the floor and 6-9 from the field. Brandon West recorded his third double-double of the season as he finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Last season, JSU finished with an overall record of 11-18 and entered the SWAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Tigers fell to Prairie View A&M, 88-75, in the semifinals to end their 2012-13 season.
LA Tech has played Jackson State more than any other current Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent, including the Tigers of Grambling State who is just five miles down the road.
The last time the Bulldogs and Tigers hooked up on the hardwood was Dec. 7, 2004 with LA Tech coming out on top, 75-61, in Jackson, Miss.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with the pregame show beginning at 4:30 p.m. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will do play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis.
Fans can also access live audio by having a subscription to LA Tech All Access. Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.