Louisiana Tech (12-3) at Texas State (4-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Strahan Coliseum (7,200) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 6-0, TSU 3-5. Away Record: LaTech 4-3, TSU 0-5. Neutral Record: LaTech 2-0, TSU 1-2. Conference Record: LaTech 3-0, TSU 0-4. Series Record: Louisiana Tech, leads 4-1.
GAME NOTES: One of two teams in the Western Athletic Conference still without a league loss, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs try to keep their unblemished record intact on Thursday night, as they clash with the Texas State Bobcats at Strahan Coliseum.
LaTech, which is visiting San Marcos for the first time, is off to a 3-0 start in conference play which means it trails only Utah State (4-0) in the standings at the moment. The Bulldogs took the floor most recently last Saturday when they slipped by Texas-Arlington in a 55-52 final for their fourth straight win, and the fifth in the last six outings overall.
Since losing the season opener to Texas A&M on the road, the Bulldogs have won 12 of their 14 outings, although those other two setbacks were against Northwestern State and McNeese State which is somewhat surprising.
Meanwhile the Bobcats, one of the newest additions to the WAC, have found the transition to be a formidable one thus far, coming up empty in all four league tests. The team opened the 2012-13 campaign with encouraging wins over Fordham and UT-Tyler, but since then has won just two more times. Most recently, the Bobcats were sent packing by New Mexico State at the Pan American Center over the weekend, 78-67, which means the squad has now dropped seven straight decisions.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, LaTech leads by a count of 4-1. The lone victory for the Bobcats was a 76-70 decision way back in 1960.
Picking up 40 of their 55 points from the reserves, the Bulldogs were able to survive against UT-Arlington the last time out, moving them to 23-8 all-time in the series between the two programs. Alex Hamilton and Kenyon McNeail accounted for 14 and 10 points, respectively, for LaTech, while the starting five combined to shoot a meager 4-of-31 from the floor, the team finishing at 28.8 percent overall. The only reason the Bulldogs were able to survive was because they forced 23 turnovers and exchanged those for 22 points. Raheem Appleby, who shot a woeful 1-of-10 from the floor and finished with just two points against the Mavericks, is still the leading scorer overall for LaTech with his 15.7 ppg, but he is now shooting just 41.0 percent from the field and a horrific 26.9 percent beyond the arc, the team connecting on only 31.7 percent out on the perimeter. However, the defense has held down the fort by limiting the competition to just 28.4 percent success from 3-point range.
The Bobcats had their hands full with New Mexico State in the paint last Saturday, as the Aggies not only won the rebounding battle, 36-25, but they also outscored Texas State by a 34-14 margin in close to the basket. Joel Wright tried to keep hope alive for the visitors as he tallied 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, both team-highs, but at the same time he was guilty of five of their 10 turnovers. Deonte' Jones came off the bench to record his second double-digit effort in league play with a career-high 15 points, hitting 3-of-5 shots from 3-point range. Over the course of four conference games, this is a team that is scoring only 58.0 ppg, shooting 37.6 percent from the field, which includes a 26.8 percent showing on the outside. Defensively, the Bobcats have allowed WAC foes to connect on 52.9 percent from the floor, which has led to 73.8 ppg. Wright (15.5 ppg) and Jones (10.0 ppg) are the unit's only double-digit scorers in league action.
Unless the Bobcats somehow find a way to tighten up on defense and at the same time open up the offense a bit more, this meeting will almost certainly fall in favor of the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 77, Texas State 61
01/10 10:32:56 ET