LA Tech Travels Down I-20 to Battle ULM
Dec. 21, 2013
RUSTON - Typically when Louisiana Tech travels down Interstate 20 to nearby Monroe, its destination is the airport.
On Sunday night at 5 p.m., the 30-minute trip east for the Bulldogs will stop at Fant-Ewing Coliseum to take on ULM.
The matchup will mark the sixth straight year that the Bulldogs and Warhawks meet on the hardwood with LA Tech (9-3) coming out victorious in the five previous.
However, the two road wins have been tough to get with scoring margins of just three points in 2009 (76-73) and two points in 2011 (73-71).
Another performance from junior forward Michale Kyser like the one he had in the 64-50 win over McNeese State this past Tuesday night would go a long way in trying to secure the sixth straight win over ULM.
Kyser nearly pulled off the third triple-double in program history against the Cowboys as he registered a career-high 13 points, tied a career-high with 17 rebounds and added seven blocks during 33 minutes of action.
"[Michale Kyser] was tremendous on Tuesday and he continues to improve," said head coach Michael White. "We certainly hope to see more of those performances this season as it gives us that obvious interior firepower."
Kyser's presence on defense has certainly been felt in the past four games as well. After surrendering a season-high 89 points in the loss to the Ragin' Cajuns, the Bulldogs have held all four opponents under their season average since.
Combined, the pressuring defense has only allowed an average of 60.3 points per game by the opposition.
"We've defended really well over the last four games, and we need a similar effort in Monroe on Sunday," said White. "ULM is much more talented than a year ago. They are bigger, more athletic and deeper."
ULM (3-3) enters Sunday's contest undefeated on its home floor this year, having almost matched its win total of four from a year ago.
The Warhawks opened the 2013-14 season with a respectable loss at nationally-ranked Kansas before reeling off three straight victories, the most impressive being an 84-80 overtime win at Northwestern State.
Their most recent game came in a 13-point loss at Ole Miss. ULM trailed 37-33 at halftime when the Rebels went on a 14-1 run in the first three minutes of the second half to put the game out of reach.
The Warhawks have a completely revamped roster, its first full scholarship roster under Keith Richard after suffering from APR penalties.
The team returns only two players from last season - leading scorer Amos Olatayo (16.3 ppg) and Jayon James, a Sun Belt preseason all-conference selection. The rest of the squad includes nine newcomers.
"Olatayo is really good," said White. "He is athletic, plays extremely hard and he takes and makes high percentage shots. Along with Olatayo and James, the additions of Ongwae, Williams and Coppola have really changed their makeup as a team."
Richard enters his fourth season at the helm for the Warhawks. He spent nine seasons (1998-2007) as head coach of the Bulldogs, amassing a record of 150-117, the third most wins and third longest tenure by a head coach in LA Tech history.
LA Tech is 4-1 so far against Louisiana teams this season.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM, KJVC 92.7 FM and KTKC 92.9 FM. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will do play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides 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.
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