GAME NOTES: Two teams at opposite ends of the Conference USA standings meet on Thursday when the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs travel to face the Rice Owls at the Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Bulldogs enter the game tied for the top spot in the C-USA standings with Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee and Tulsa at 12-3. All four teams play on the road in their regular-season finale with a lot riding on a win. Southern Miss visits Tulane, Middle Tennessee visits UAB and Tulsa visits North Texas.
Louisiana Tech probably has the easiest matchup of the four teams, as Rice is last in the conference with just a 2-13 mark and the Bulldogs beat the Owls 85-46 back on Feb. 15.
Overall, the Bulldogs have won three straight and seven of eight to get into the conference title mix with one game left. Most recently, the Bulldogs went to UAB and came away with a 67-58 win.
Chris Anderson netted 20 points and Kenyon McNeail chipped in 14 points for Louisiana Tech, which improved to 24-6 on the season. Kenneth Smith tallied a team-high eight assists and added five rebounds in the win, which was its ninth in 11 outings.
Back in the first meeting between these two schools, McNeail scored 17 points in the rout. Chris Anderson added a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Isaiah Massey and Jaron Johnson each finished with 12 points and Kenneth Smith dished out 11 assists for the Bulldogs. Austin Ramljak and Max Guercy each scored nine points to lead the Owls, who were never in the game.
Alex Hamilton leads the Bulldogs with 14.6 ppg, while Raheem Appleby (14.3), Anderson (11.8) and McNeail (10.7) round out the double-figure scorers. As a team, the Bulldogs pour in an impressive 81.7 ppg and yield only 65.7 ppg.
As hot as Louisiana Tech has been, Rice has been almost equally as cold.
The Owls were easily handled by Middle Tennessee on Saturday, 65-41. Guercy finished with nine points and Ross Wilson had eight points and seven rebounds for the Owls, who have dropped six in a row.
Ramljak leads the low-scoring Owls with 11.7 ppg, while Sean Obi adds 11.4 ppg and 9.5 rpg for Rice, which averages only 62.2 ppg.
Even though this game is on the road, don't expect the Bulldogs to have too many problems and cruise into the postseason tournament as one of the higher seeded schools.
Game Date and Time