GAME NOTES: Off to their best start ever in conference play, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs put their unblemished record on the line again on Saturday night, as they host the Texas State Bobcats in Western Athletic Conference action at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston.
The only team in the WAC that has yet to bow to an opponent, Louisiana Tech crushed Texas-San Antonio at home on Thursday night in a 74-49 final to move to 11-0 in league play. With 11 straight victories in conference, the Bulldogs are enjoying their best run in league action in more than four decades, when they once put together a string of 14 consecutive conference wins over the course of two seasons.
As for the Bobcats, they too were on the hardwood two nights ago, but unlike LaTech the squad was crushed in a 75-50 final versus UT Arlington on the road. The setback was the third in a row for the team and dropped it to 3-9 in the WAC, which means it enters the weekend alone in eighth place in the standings.
Louisiana Tech, which has now claimed victory in 12 consecutive games overall, won the first meeting between these two teams in San Marcos last month by a comfortable 84-67 margin, as Cordarius Johnson dropped in 17 points for the visitors on 5-of-9 shooting behind the 3-point line. The Bulldogs, who now own a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series, held a huge 54-32 edge on the glass.
Texas State's offense was almost non-existent versus UTA the other night, the team shooting only 22.6 percent from the floor while making a total of just three field goals in the final 20 minutes of action. Not a single starter scored in double figures, with Reid Koenen coming up with 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting off the bench for a squad that turned the ball over 23 times but has just 12 made field goals. Leading scorer Joel Wright (17.5 ppg), was held to just seven points and was charged with seven turnovers before fouling out. Matt Staff was also under-whelming in his efforts and subsequently saw his season average dip to 10.9 ppg. As a team, TSU checks in with a decent 70.4 ppg over 24 contests, but in giving up 76.8 ppg the Bobcats typically nullify any positive efforts they might produce.
They shot just 36.2 percent from the floor and 7-of-25 (.280) behind the 3- point line in the meeting with UTSA on Thursday night, but still the Bulldogs were able to cruise to the easy home win. The huge margin of victory stemmed from Tech holding the Roadrunners to just 29.6 percent accuracy from the floor and forcing 18 turnovers. At the other end of the floor it was Chris Anderson and Cordarius Johnson with 11 points apiece, followed by Raheem Appleby and Jaron Johnson with 10 points each. It also helped that LaTech held a 53-37 edge on the glass as well. What's most surprising about this team when it comes to conference play is that they don't have a single player scoring more than 10.3 ppg (Appleby and Kenyon McNeail) and yet they are outscoring the competition by more than 10 ppg while shooting just 39.4 percent from the floor.
The defense for the Bulldogs has been top-notch against WAC foes, limiting those teams to just 25.4 percent accuracy out on the perimeter and 38.9 percent from the floor overall. As long as that trend continues on Saturday, another win should be in the card for the hosts.
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