LA Tech Battles Grambling State in Holiday Classic
Dec. 16, 2016
RUSTON – Crosstown foes Louisiana Tech and Grambling State are only five miles apart, but the two basketball teams will head an hour west to battle on the hardwood on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in the first annual Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic at the CenturyLink Center.
The event will consist of three games with LA Tech (6-4) and GSU (5-6) being the final game. It marks the first time the Bulldogs have played in the 14,000-seat arena since December of 2008.
At the top of the list of things to correct going into Saturday will be turnovers. The ‘Dogs have committed 45 turnovers in the last two games combined, including a season-high 24 this past Tuesday night where they still came away with a 65-52 victory over Prairie View A&M.
A big reason for still getting a double-digit win is the offensive efficiency when not turning it over. For the fourth straight game, LA Tech shot 55 percent from the field.
The offensive damage of late has been coming from junior shooting guard Jacobi Boykins. The sharp shooter went off for 19 points against the Panthers, going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. He is now 17-of-26 (65 percent) from three-point range over the last three games.
Other impressive streaks going on right now from an individual standpoint are Erik McCree who has five-straight double-doubles, a first by a Bulldog since Paul Millsap did it in 2005, and DaQuan Bracey who has registered eight assists each of the last four games (has started all four).
There is also a streak on the defensive end and that is by the 7-footer Joniah White. The center has recorded multiple blocks in seven consecutive games, including a career-high six rejections versus PVAMU.
The team is looking for its first win of the season away from home as is the opponent Grambling State whose six losses have all come on the road.
GSU has won four of its last six contests, eclipsing the century mark in all four victories. The Tigers most recent win came this past Friday in a 103-53 blowout over Selma. A lot of their scoring has been as a result of the defense which ranks seventh in the country in steals per game (10.0) and sixth in turnovers forced (18.82).
The Tigers’ key players are guards Ervin Mitchell and Remond Brown who have started all 11 games while averaging 16.5 and 14.4 points per game, respectively. There is also forward Aeryl Ugba who is averaging a double-double with 12.0 points and 10.8 boards per contest.
LA Tech leads the all-time series over GSU, 3-0. Despite being so close to each other geographically, the two teams did not meet for the first time until 2008 when they played a home-and-home.
The third meeting came last season when the Bulldogs took down the Tigers, 86-67, in Grambling as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational.
The game can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KVJC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) and KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) as well as on the LA Tech X Mobile app. The “Voice of the Bulldogs” Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
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