Dec. 11, 2012
RUSTON - The Louisiana Tech (8-2) men's basketball team looks to get to double-digit wins by closing out their last two games prior to WAC play, starting with a Wednesday night contest versus familiar in-state foe McNeese State (4-3) at 7 p.m. inside the Lake Charles Civic Center.
After having their seven-game winning streak snapped at Northwestern State a week ago, the Bulldogs bounced back to record an impressive 65-55 victory over future conference mate Southern Miss.
"We have shown to be pretty good at times, but must continue to improve on our weaknesses if we want to be consistently good," said head coach Michael White. "We've come a long way, but we could be much better two months from now. That's the main goal."
The Wednesday night matchup will be a return trip for the `Dogs as they squeaked out a 60-58 win over the Cowboys in Ruston last season thanks to a late defensive stand.
"The McNeese State game was a hard-fought win last year, as we barely survived," added White. "[Head coach Dave Simmons] does a tremendous job, and they play extremely hard. They defend very well and they are very athletic. He seems to have a tough group of kids. We'll have to play well to have a chance to win."
The Cowboys are riding a three-game winning streak, all coming at home, after a 77-72 defeat of I-10 rival Louisiana-Lafayette and are led by forward Desharick Guidry who has recorded four straight double-doubles for the first time in the program's history since 1989-90.
Guidry is almost averaging a double-double as well, leading the team with 12.7 points per game and 9.6 rebounds per game.
A trio of Cowboy guards also average double figures in Dontae Cannon (12.7), Jeremie Mitchell (11.4) and Kevin Hardy (10.3) while averaging 43 percent from the floor as a team.
McNeail poured in a team-high 18 points off the bench in their last win against the Golden Eagles.
For the season, Appleby is leading the charge with 19.2 points per game followed by Johnson averaging 12.9 per game.
"Our depth has been a strength, especially in the backcourt," said White. "Our guys have embraced the fact that it may be a different guy that steps up in different scenarios. We have an unselfish group, a team that really gets along well. Obviously, we hope that is a factor that helps us throughout the season."
The Bulldogs hold an all-time 54-38 series advantage in what is the fourth oldest rivalry in LA Tech history, only behind Centenary, Louisiana-Lafayette and Northwestern State.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network, including KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KJVC 92.7 (Mansfield) and KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) 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 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.