Louisiana Tech (22-3) at Idaho (9-15)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cowan Spectrum (7,000) -- Moscow, Idaho.
Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 11-0, Idaho 5-7. Away Record: LaTech
9-3, Idaho 4-7. Neutral Record: LaTech 2-0, Idaho 0-1. Conference Record:
LaTech 13-0, Idaho 5-9. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 11-5.
GAME NOTES: The top team in the Western Athletic Conference hits the hardwood
at the Cowan Spectrum on Saturday night, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs get
after the Idaho Vandals.
Receiving some votes in the latest Associated Press Poll, the Bulldogs are one
of only a handful of teams that are undefeated in conference play this late
into the season. On Valentine's Day the squad managed to get by Seattle on the
road at Key Arena in a 64-58 final. The victory moved LaTech to 13-0 in league
play and was the team's 14 consecutive win overall, the second-longest run in
Were it not for a couple of awkward defeats against the likes of McNeese State
and Northwestern State on the road months ago, surely the Bulldogs would be
getting more recognition on a national scale.
As for the Vandals, a group which is 5-9 in conference play and in sixth place
in the standings as a result, they were treated to their third straight
setback on Thursday night when they fell to Texas-Arlington in a 71-68 final.
With a perfect conference record, obviously the Bulldogs took care of Idaho in
the first meeting of the season, although the Vandals did not go quietly in a
72-66 final at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston last month. Idaho, which
swept the season series last year, trails the Bulldogs now by a count of 11-5.
The Bulldogs didn't appear to have that killer instinct on Thursday night when
they met up with Seattle, but after 40 minutes all that mattered was that
LaTech had at least one more point than the Redhawks. Shooting only 37.9
percent from the field and 14-of-26 at the free-throw line, but the Bulldogs
gave the hosts plenty of opportunity to capture the victory, but still LaTech
held on behind 15 points by Chris Anderson and 10 by Brandon Gibson off the
The Bulldogs have learned how to spread the wealth this season as only three
players are averaging more than 20 minutes per game when the team clashes with
fellow WAC members. Raheem Appleby (10.8 ppg) is one of those three and is the
only player overall with scoring in double figures, even as he shoots a woeful
19.3 percent behind the three-point line. As a whole, LaTech is producing a
solid 71.1 ppg while limiting opponents to 60.6 ppg by forcing those teams
into an average of almost 18 miscues per contest.
Idaho outscored the Mavericks by a 25-10 margin at the free-throw line two
nights ago, but the defense for the Vandals were lacking in their pressure
behind the 3-point line where the visitors made good on 9-of-14 attempts in
the three-point decision. Stephen Madison made a splash in his return to the
starting lineup as he tallied a game-high 25 points, while Kyle Barone
registered a double-double with 21 points and a team-best 10 rebounds in the
setback as well.
In conference play Barone continues to lead the way for the Vandals with 17.4
points and 10.6 rebounds per game, shooting not only 55.1 percent from the
field but also 83.8 percent at the free-throw line where the team as a whole
is hitting on 77.0 percent, compared to only 68.4 percent for the opposition.
Madison (14.2 ppg) and Connor Hill (12.4 ppg) continually show up as key
contributors on offense, even if the wins are still hard to come by.
At some point the Bulldogs will probably hit a tough opponent during the
conference schedule, but even on the road this weekend the team should be able
to take care of business versus Idaho.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 69, Idaho 58
02/16 10:45:14 ET