GAME NOTES: Former members of the Southland Conference get together on Saturday evening, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the Roadrunners of Texas- San Antonio now compete as Western Athletic Conference foes.
The Bulldogs, who trail only Utah State in the conference standings at the moment, have won at least five games in a row twice already this season, the first time that's happened since 2000. On Thursday night, the team easily tackled the Texas State Bobcats in an 84-67 final on the road. For only the third time since joining the WAC in 2001, LaTech is off to a 4-0 start as a result of the latest victory.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners are at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to success in the WAC thus far, losing all five decisions which has them in a tie for last place in the standings with Texas State. The team was also in action two nights ago and in their case suffered a 75-67 setback against Texas-Arlington at home. The defeat was the fifth straight and the 10th in the last 11 outings for a program that had started 2012-13 with a 3-1 mark.
In terms of the all-time series between these squads, LaTech is ahead by a 3-1 margin, although the Roadrunners are the ones who claimed victory in the most recent meeting back in 2004 by a score of 79-71 here at the Convocation Center.
Cordarius Johnson scored 17 points as he made good on 5-of-9 shots behind the 3-point line, as he helped guide the Bulldogs to the 17-point win over the Texas State Bobcats at Strahan Coliseum on Thursday night. Also scoring in double figures for the Bulldogs were Raheem Appleby and Jaron Johnson 12 and 10 points, respectively. Kenneth Smith accounted for 10 rebounds and six assists for the visitors. LaTech scored the first points of the night and never looked back, building a 38-21 lead at the break based on a defensive effort that held the Bobcats to a mere 29.4 percent shooting from the floor. The Bulldogs dominated the glass in the meeting, 54-32. Despite their dominance on the boards against Texas State, LaTech now owns just a 0.1 rpg advantage over the competition through 16 games. Leading the charge has been Michale Kyser (6.6 rpg), who is also tops on the unit with 52 of its 86 blocked shots, which is one more than all of the opposition combined at this point. Appleby leads the offense with his 15.4 ppg, while Cordarius Johnson is the only other double-digit scorer with 11.3 ppg.
Trailing by as many as 19 points in the second half on Thursday, the Roadrunners made a furious run to cut the deficit to just five in the final minute of action before suffering the eight-point setback at home versus UTA. Kannon Burrage led three in double figures with his 17 points, tying Larry Wilkins (16 points) for the team lead with six rebounds, while Michael Hale III chipped in with 15 points, although he shot just 4-of-13 from the floor and 2-of-7 behind the 3-point line in the outing. Defensively, UTSA put itself in a huge hole in the first half as it allowed the Mavericks to knock down a stellar 69.2 percent from the floor, 57.8 percent for the entire game. So far for the season, the Roadrunners have permitted the opposition to knock down 49.7 percent of their field goal attempts and close to 40.0 percent beyond the arc, leading to a scoring edge of more than eight points per contest. Burrage heads a list of three double-digit scorers with his 16.6 ppg, with Hale III (14.2 ppg) and Jeromie Hill (13.3 ppg) following behind, but Burrage is shooting only 35.5 percent from the floor.
With three players controlling the majority of the offense for the Roadrunners these days, it shouldn't be hard for Louisiana Tech to focus its defensive efforts accordingly in order to come out on top yet again in conference play.
Game Date and Time