LA Tech hoops gear up for McNeese - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

LA Tech hoops gear up for McNeese

RUSTON, LA (KSLA/Louisiana Tech Sports Information) -

Louisiana Tech took on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State and could not come away with a win. 

The Bulldogs will have another shot on Tuesday night to defeat the Cowboys of a different variety in in-state foe McNeese State at 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.


Despite the two teams splitting the last six games, LA Tech (8-3) has not lost at home to McNeese (2-7) since Feb. 1, 1986.  Since then, the Bulldogs have won 11 straight in the TAC versus the Cowboys.


The ‘Dogs enter tomorrow's contest with the same record as last season through 11 games.  It was at this point last year that LA Tech went on their historic 18-game winning streak.  Even though that may not be duplicated, head coach Michael White feels his team is further along.


"We are definitely a better team than this time last year," said White.  "There is no substitute for experience, and everyone in the rotation is better because of it."


Nine of the 11 active players are averaging at least 13 minutes per game thus far, led by Raheem Appleby who averages 27.4 minutes per game.  Appleby leads the team in scoring as well with an average of 16.1 points per game.


Kenneth Smith is also up there in minutes with an average of 26.1 per game.  He currently ranks 17th in the nation in steals (2.6) per game and 21st in assists (6.2) per game, driving the offense and defense of the Bulldogs.


All 11 of these players will surely remember last year's 80-72 loss versus McNeese State in Lake Charles. 


"Anytime you have a chance to compete against a team that has beaten you, there is always added incentive," said White.  "McNeese was terrific last year in that game, and they're very dangerous again this year."


The Cowboys have yet to win on the road this season, dropping their last four games.  Their two wins have come over Louisiana College and Stillman College.


McNeese's most recent game came in a 73-60 defeat at Texas A&M.  That game marked the return of junior forward Desharick Guidry, the team's leading scorer and rebounder last year.  Guidry missed the first eight games for the Cowboys due to academics.


Guidry proceeded to score a game-high 17 points and was one rebound short of a double-double as his presence on the floor had the Cowboys in the game for most of the time against the Aggies.


"You can really only evaluate [McNeese State] on one game," said White.  "In that game, they were very competitive at Texas A&M on Saturday. With the return of their best player Guidry, they are significantly better now than a week ago."


McNeese, 14-17 a season ago, returned three starters and 11 lettermen.  Guidry and junior guard Kevin Hardy were named to the preseason all-SLC team as the Cowboys were selected for a fifth and sixth place finish in the preseason SID and coaches polls in the Southland Conference.


Free Johnny's Pizza, courtesy of Campus Evolution Villages, will be given to the first 200 students in attendance. Students will also have a chance to enter a year-long raffle.

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