Louisiana Tech (16-3) at San Jose State (9-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 8-0, SJSU 5-3. Away Record: LaTech 6-3, SJSU 4-5. Neutral Record: LaTech 2-0, SJSU 0-1. Conference Record: LaTech 7-0, SJSU 3-4. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 13-9.
GAME NOTES: The top team in the Western Athletic Conference hits the road on Thursday night, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs pay a visit to the San Jose State Spartans.
Louisiana Tech, which has the best overall record in the league at 16-3, has yet to be taken down by a WAC foe in 2012-13. The team is at the top of the standings with an unblemished 7-0 mark thanks to a 78-71 win over Seattle in the most recent outing last Saturday. The victory was the eighth in as many games for the Bulldogs.
As for the Spartans, they've been dealt three defeats in a row and are just 3-4 in conference play as a result. The team went from being dominated by Denver a week ago, 73-37, to coming up small versus New Mexico State at the Pan American Center last Saturday, 70-53.
Louisiana Tech has won two straight meetings with the Spartans, the latest being a 75-49 triumph last season, which means the Bulldogs are ahead in the series by a 13-9 margin.
The starting five for the Bulldogs was a virtual non-factor in the win over Seattle as they quintet combined to score just 18 points and not one of them landed in double figures. Instead, it was Alex Hamilton and Jaron Johnson who carried the load off the bench with 15 points apiece, the former handing out five assists and the latter clearing eight rebounds. Kenyon McNeail also added 12 points, although he shot just 2-of-8 from the floor in a reserve role as well. Raheem Appleby, one of the starters who made little contribution in the most recent win, remains the leading scorer for the program with 14.4 ppg, although he is now shooting under 40 percent from the field and a feeble 23.5 percent beyond the arc. The team as a whole is hitting just 41.0 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent on the outside, which makes you wonder how they are still undefeated in conference play.
Against New Mexico State, the Spartans recorded only seven field goals in the first half, burying themselves by halftime, en route to the 17-point loss. LaVanne Pennington was the only player to reach double figures for the visitors, posting 16 points, while the other four starters combined to add just 12 points as both Alex Brown and Xavier Jones were held scoreless. Since Jan. 9, the Spartans have been without their leading scorer, James Kinney (20.6 ppg), due to a suspension and that leaves Chris Cunningham as the only active double-digit scorer for the group with his 10.6 ppg. Cunningham is also first with 8.5 rpg, but for someone who now handles the ball as much as he does, the fact that he has almost twice as many turnovers (58) as assists (31) is not a good sign at all.
With Kinney out of the picture, the LaTech starters can again have an off night and still know that they will more than likely end up in the win column once more.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 69, San Jose State 61
01/24 10:31:19 ET