Louisiana Tech (14-3) at Tulane (9-8)
01/16/2014 7:28 AM
01/16/2014 8:31 AM
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will attempt to keep their winning streak alive on Thursday night when they head to Devlin Fieldhouse for a Conference USA clash with the Tulane Green Wave.
Louisiana Tech are currently winners of six straight games for the second time this season, which includes a 2-0 start in C-USA after beating Florida Atlantic (84-64) and FIU (85-51). The Bulldogs' outstanding 14-3 record is even more impressive considering their success on the road, where they've won four of five.
Tulane has had an up-and-down season at 9-8 overall, although it has performed well in New Orleans, sporting a 7-3 home record. The Green Wave have split their first two league games, both on the road, losing at Tulsa on Jan. 9 (97-71), before defeating North Texas on Saturday (73-62).
The Green Wave lead the all-time series, 2-1, although Louisiana Tech won the most recent matchup in November of 2004, 69-66.
The Bulldogs dominated their most recent contest, as they led FIU by 18 at the half and put the game on autopilot from there en route to the 34-point victory. It was simply a modest field goal shooting night (.418), but they were able earn extra possessions all evening by winning the rebounding (51-34) and turnover (18-10) battles convincing margins. Jaron Johnson came off the bench to tally 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Michale Kyser (11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) also finished with a double-double. Alex Hamilton poured in 16 points, Kenyon McNeail scored 12 and Chris Anderson rounded out the balanced effort by netting 11.
Louisiana Tech has grown accustomed to high-scoring outputs this season, as it shoots greater than 47 percent from the field for 85.9 ppg, eighth-best in the nation. It also plays outstanding defense, allowing just 66.4 ppg. Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg) missed the latest win with an ankle injury and is out indefinitely. In his absence, Hamilton (15.0 ppg) has stepped up as the top scoring option, while Anderson (10.6 ppg), Cordarius Johnson (8.9 ppg), McNeail (8.7 ppg) and Kyser (7.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 4.0 bpg) can also be relied upon.
The Green Wave used a 16-5 run late in the second quarter of their most recent contest to pull away from North Texas and secure a strong road victory. They shot a mere 40.4 percent from the field, but they held UNT to an even worse 37.5 percent. Jonathan Stark shined in the triumph with 20 points on 3-of-4 from 3-point range, while Louis Dabney (19 points, nine rebounds) was also outstanding. Jay Hook rounded out a strong backcourt performance with 10 points on 8-of-10 from the free-throw line.
Despite its winning record, Tulane has been outproduced by its opponents this season, as it shoots just 42.5 percent from the field for 68.6 ppg while allowing 73.1 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting. Where it lacks in field goal efficiency it is able to make up for at the free-throw line, as it shoots 72.1 percent from the stripe and has drained 93 more free throws than its opponents. Dabney leads the way with 18.2 ppg, while Stark (16.8 ppg) and Hook (14.7 ppg) are both outstanding from beyond the arc, as the duo has combined for 60 3-pointers at greater than a 45-percent clip.
Tulane has defended its home floor admirably this season, and its impressive guard trio will certainly do some damage without Appleby in the lineup. However, Louisiana Tech has proven itself on the road time and again this season and should once again prevail against the inconsistent Green Wave.
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