LA Tech Faces OU in Norman
Dec. 29, 2013
RUSTON - Payback can be served one month, one year or even five years later.
In Louisiana Tech's case, the Bulldogs will seek payback for two exits from the NCAA Tournament in the 1980's by Oklahoma, including the 1985 Sweet Sixteen when Karl Malone and Co. were eliminated on the Sooners last second shot in overtime by Wayman Tisdale.
LA Tech faces OU in its final game of the 2013 calendar year on Monday at 7 p.m. inside the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman, Okla.
Even the last time these two teams squared off (Dec. 8, 2001), Oklahoma got the better of LA Tech in overtime despite Gerrod Henderson's 21 points.
On Monday night, LA Tech (10-3) will face a top-15 offense in Oklahoma (11-1) who averages 86.4 ppg, good for seventh in the country.
The Bulldogs are certainly no stranger to playing high-powered offenses, having already gone up against two of the highest scoring offenses in the country this season in Northwestern State (86.1 ppg) and Oklahoma State (86.3 ppg), limiting both opponents to well under their average.
The bulk of OU's scoring comes from its starting lineup which has started all 12 games together with all five starters averaging double-figures in scoring, led by Cameron Clark with 17.8 points per game.
"They are a very tough team to defend, as they get such balanced scoring," said head coach Michael White. "They also score in a variety of ways. Our attention to detail and mental discipline will have to be terrific to slow down the Sooners.
"Transition defense will be a big key. We must have a tremendous sense of urgency and communicate really well."
OU is just outside the Top 25 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches week eight poll - 26th in AP with 65 points and 32th in USA Today with 11 points - and have reeled off seven straight wins since dropping an 87-76 loss to No. 5 ranked Michigan State.
For the Bulldogs to become the first team this season to beat the Sooners at home, they will have to continue their sound defense which keeps them in almost every game.
The Bulldogs rank in the top 25 nationally in blocks, steals and turnover margin. Rim protector Michale Kyser has the second most blocks in the country (55) and point man of the press defense Kenneth Smith has the 18th most steals in the country (29).
It was around this same time last year that LA Tech started to hit its stride en route to a program record 18-game winning streak.
After a dominant 83-61 win at ULM which saw the `Dogs shoot 57 percent from the field and force 17 turnovers, coach White hopes that momentum carries over after the week-long Christmas break.
"We have four practices before competing again, so we should be fine as it relates to rhythm," said White. "Our guys came back from home with a renewed energy level that should help us in the near future and down the road.
"I'm optimistic that we are starting to hit our stride. We are coming off a nice performance at ULM, and have been defending at a pretty high level for five games in a row."
The game will be televised by Sooner Sports TV with Bob Carpenter, Billy Tubbs and Jessica Coody announcing. Check Fox College Sports Central for availability in your area.
The matchup will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will do play-by-play while Jack Thigpen provides analysis with pregame starting at 6:30 p.m. 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.
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