LA Tech Targets Southern Miss in Saturday Night Contest
Dec. 7, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech (7-2) targets the beginning of a new winning streak Saturday night as they take on future conference mate Southern Miss (6-2) at 7 p.m. CT inside the friendly confines of the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Bulldogs are coming off a tough 89-83 road loss to in-state rival Northwestern State which snapped a stretch of seven straight wins.
"Our half court first-shot defense wasn't so bad on Tuesday, but our transition defense and our press really hurt us," said head coach Michael White. "[NSU] also converted too many offensive rebound opportunities. Those will be our points of emphasis as we prepare for Southern Miss."
One streak that is still intact is the Bulldogs 29-game non-conference home winning streak at the TAC which dates back to December of 2007.
Saturday's contest will be a return trip for the Golden Eagles as the `Dogs dropped a 78-62 loss in Hattiesburg last season. The three previous meetings before that all came in tournament action - the John Thompson Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark., the Gulf Coast Classic in Biloxi, Miss. and in Ruston for the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament when LA Tech last defeated USM.
This will be the 70th time in their history that the two teams will square off on the hardwood, making it the oldest rivalry outside the state of Louisiana for LA Tech.
Southern Miss opened the season under new head coach Donnie Tyndall who was previously the head coach at Morehead State for six years.
The Golden Eagles began the season with back-to-back overtime wins over Western Kentucky and Georgia. They improved their record to 6-0 before dropping the last two games on the road to New Mexico State and No. 8 ranked Arizona, both by a scoring margin of only eight points.
"USM is the best team that we will have played thus far," said White. "Donnie's team plays a unique zone that has been really effective for them. They are extremely physical and tough as well. Those were trademarks of his teams at Morehead State, and it continues to be. When you have a chance to win on the road against the No. 8 team in America, you're pretty good."
They are led by senior forward Dwayne Davis who averages 15.1 points per game and as a team are averaging 63.6 points on 45 percent shooting from the field.
LA Tech's defense will look to get back on track after allowing a season-high 89 points to the Demons with the previous high being 71 to the Aggies of Texas A&M.
Forward Michale Kyser leads the way defensively with an average of 6.6 rebounds per game, including a career-high 17 boards against NSU, and an average of 3.0 blocks per game which leads the Western Athletic Conference.
Guard Cordarius Johnson will be looked upon to regain his shooting stroke on the offensive end after scoring a season-low five points on just 1-of-7 from the field.
Louisiana Tech has teamed up with The Ruston Jaycees once again to brighten the Christmas of children in the area. Bulldog fans are encouraged to show their holiday spirit by donating new or slightly used toys for our Toys for Tots drive.
Fans who bring a toy for donation on Saturday night will be given a raffle ticket and be automatically entered for a chance to win an autographed basketball by the 2012-13 Bulldogs.
Toys can be delivered at the main entrance of the Thomas Assembly Center on any home basketball game night from now until Friday, Dec. 14. Fans may also drop off toys at the ticket office during normal operating hours during this same time span.
Santa Claus will be on the main concourse from 5:30 till tip-off to take pictures (please bring your own camera), and as a special holiday treat he will be reading The Night Before Christmas at halftime to all the little Tech fans.
There will also be FREE pizza for the first 200 LA Tech students and FREE Blue Crew T-shirts to the first 250 LA Tech students.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network, including KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and KJVC 92.7 (Mansfield) with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m. The "voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will do the play-by-play while Jack Thigpen will provide analysis. Fans can also access live video and audio of the game via the Internet by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com.
Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.