LA Tech Opens New Orleans Shootout versus Alabama State
Dec. 20, 2017
RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team will try to bring home its second regular season tournament championship this week as they participate in the inaugural New Orleans Shootout in the Big Easy starting on Thursday afternoon versus Alabama State.
Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at the Xavier Convocation Center, a near 4,000-seat arena on the campus of Xavier University of Louisiana that opened in the fall of 2012.
LA Tech (7-4) won the Cancun Challenge in Mexico earlier this season in what was also a four-team bracket tourney. They will face either Liberty or Fort Wayne on Friday at noon or 2:30 p.m.
Fans can listen to the Voice of the Bulldogs Dave Nitz and Jack Thigpen call the game on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM (Ruston), KTKC 92.9 FM (Springhill) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield) as well as on the Louisiana Tech X mobile app. Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.
The Bulldogs will try to put an end to two-game losing skid, recently falling on the road to the Texas Longhorns by a final score of 75-60.
One highlight of the game though was the play of the Maryland duo DaQuan Bracey and Anthony Duruji. The point guard Bracey, a Baltimore native, ended up registering a career-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-of-10 shooting from the foul line.
Bracey currently ranks second on the team in scoring (15.2 points per game) and first in assists (4.6 dishes per game).
Duruji, a freshman forward, played a career-high 25 minutes as the primary frontcourt backup due to sophomore forward Oliver Powell not being available for the game.
The Germantown native matched his career high of 10 points, three blocks and two steals. He also set a new career-high with seven rebounds which was also a team-high in the contest.
Of the five newcomers, Duruji is averaging the most playing time through 11 games so far with an average of 14.6 minutes per contest.
The first round opponent, Alabama State (0-10), is one of six teams in Division I to still be winless on the season. The Hornets opened the year with eight straight games away from home against teams like Mississippi State, Iowa, Oregon and Cincinnati.
ASU recently suffered back-to-back home losses against Tennessee State (64-45) and Winthrop (88-80) in a game the Hornets led by double-digits in the first half.
Guard Jacoby Ross scored a career-high 30 points in the game against the Eagles. He is one of two ASU players averaging double-digit points this season at 10.3 points per contest. The other is guard Reginald Gee who is averaging 13.1 points per game.
LA Tech leads the all-time series over Alabama State, 3-1. Two of the four meetings have come in regular season tourneys similar to the New Orleans Shootout. The last meeting came last season in LA Tech’s home opener which the ‘Dogs won, 87-56.
Regardless of who LA Tech plays on Friday, it will be the first ever meeting against the other team.
Liberty heads to New Orleans with an 8-3 record and on a three-game winning streak with those victories coming over Georgia State, UMES and Kentucky Christian. The Flames, who play in the Big South Conference and were picked third in the preseason poll, have won six of their last seven games.
Fort Wayne checks in with an 8-5 overall mark, coming off a thrilling 92-72 victory at Indiana where they knocked down 17 three-pointers to beat their in-state rival for a second straight year.
The Mastodons, who play in the Summit League and were picked fourth in the preseason poll, are led by Purdue transfer guard Bryson Scott who is averaging 23.0 points per game.
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