Posted Dec 20, 2002 15:24:22
Bulldogs Host Jackson State
Louisiana Tech hopes to continue its offensive improvement when the Bulldogs host Jackson State Saturday evening at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The Bulldogs (2-3) struggled offensively in their first few games of the season but shot 56.9 percent from the field, including an 81.0 percent effort in the second half earlier this week in a 76-55 win over Harding.
"The fact that we were able to score 44 points in the second half against Harding is something that our players feel good about," said Louisiana Tech head coach Keith Richard. "We want to build on that momentum in this next game."
Most of the Tech offensive woes can be attributed to a higher number of turnovers this season. The Bulldogs are averaging 18 turnovers per game this season after averaging less than 14 per contest last year. This season, opponents have been able to convert many of those turnovers into points.
"When we don't turn the ball over, we are able to get shots in our half court offense and have good offensive transition," Richard said. "When we do turn the ball over, we seem to struggle offensively. It all boils down to taking care of the basketball so we can get good offensive opportunities."
Against Harding, the Bulldogs committed 19 turnovers but managed to keep the Bisons from converting those turnovers into points with some tough defense. Tech held Harding to just 38.9 percent from the floor, including just 21.4 percent from three-point range.
Although the Tech offense has gotten off to a slow start, one bright spot for the Bulldogs has been senior forward Antonio Meeking.
Meeking has led the Bulldogs in scoring in all five contests and tops the team with 18.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 26 points in the win over Harding.
"I think Antonio has been very good in four of our five games," Richard said. "We've challenged him to be a consistent good player, night in and night out. That's something that we talk to him about everyday."
Meeking was expected to take over the leadership role for the Bulldogs in place of the departed Gerrod Henderson and so far, he?s lived up to Richard?s expectations.
"He's really starting to respond so that every time he steps on the court, he's one of the best players on the floor," Richard said. "I'm happy with him at this point but I want him to continue to play with great energy every time he walks out on the floor."
Jackson State (1-6) will bring in a trio of players averaging in double-figures. Forward Cliff Walker tops the team with 13.5 points per game while Tim Henderson and Ishmail Joyce are averaging 12.6 and 10.6 points respectively. Walker also leads the team with 4.5 rebounds per contest.
The game will be broadcast on the Louisiana Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) and can be heard worldwide via the Internet on www.z1075fm.com.