Louisiana Tech (17-8, 9-3) @ UTSA (11-13, 6-5)
Site – Convocation Center.
Time – 3 p.m. Saturday.
Radio/TV – KTKR (760), CUSA.tv.
Sagarin ratings – Louisiana Tech 101, UTSA 288.
Point spread – Louisiana Tech favored by 7½.
Series - Louisiana Tech leads 10-3, including UTSA’s 69-68 victory in Ruston, La., on Jan. 7.
Louisiana Tech projected starting lineup – F Erik McCree 6-8 sr. (17.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg), F Omar Sherman 6-9 jr. (9.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg), G DaQuan Bracey 5-11 fresh.(9.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.6 apg), G Derric Jean 6-2 soph. (9.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg), G Jacobi Boykins 6-6 jr. (14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.2 apg).
UTSA projected starting lineup – F Jeff Beverly 6-6 jr. (16.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg), C Lucas O’Brien (6.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg), G Giovanni DeNicolao 6-3, fr. (8.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg), G Gino Littles 6-0 jr. (6.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.4 apg), G Byron Frohnen 6-5 fr. (8.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg).
Louisiana Tech factoids – The Bulldogs stretched their winning streak to three straight games with a gritty 62-61 victory at UTEP on Thursday. Since their loss to the Roadrunners earlier this season, Tech is 7-2 with winning streaks of three and four games … The arrival into El Paso wasn’t easy as the Bulldogs were eight hours late arriving into El Paso because of a missed connection and 30 minutes late to the Don Haskins Center because of rush-hour traffic … Despite the travails, withstanding a late run of seven consecutive UTEP points to hang on for a 62-61 triumph and the Miners’ first home conference loss of the season … McCree finished with a 19 points and eight rebounds, sinking all four 3-point shots to lead the victory … The Bulldogs rank 11th nationally in fewer personal fouls (15.6), 16th in blocked shots per game (5.5), 30th in scoring margin (plus-10.8) and 40th in scoring defense (65.5 ppg).
UTSA factoids - The Roadrunners played one of their best games of the season beating Louisiana Tech earlier this year on a game-winning shot by Giovanni De Nicolao. It was their only road victory of the season, snapping their five-game losing streak at the Thomas Assembly Center … De Nicolao struggled through a career-worst 0-for-10 shooting effort Thursday night against Southern Mississippi, leading him to shoot for more 30 minutes in an empty Convocation Center after the game … UTSA has limited seven opponents to less than 60 points this season, after allowing six opposing teams to score less than six years in the last two seasons combined and only one last season …UTSA ranks better than 100th in only six of the 32 team statistics charted by the NCAA. By comparison Louisiana Tech is better than 100th in 16 team statistics.
They said it:
UTSA coach Steve Henson on his team winning despite shooting 36.7 percent against USM: “We made eight turnovers and outrebounded them by 10. That’s the only way we can win if our offense was as ugly as it was. Limit turnovers and rebound the basketball.”
UTSA coach Steve Henson on his team’s unconventional way of winning Thursday night against USM: “Jeff (Beverly) had some struggles, Lucas (O’Brien) didn’t score and Giovanni (De Nicolao) didn’t score. He didn’t make a shot. To pull out a win when that happens is pretty good.”
UTSA coach Steve Henson on his team’s recent reliance on a variety of zone defenses: “In the last few games we have played a lot of zone. Our man is slipping a little bit and our zone defense is getting a little better. Last game against Middle Tennessee game we worked on matching up a little more. That’s helped us tremendously whether we are a 3-2 (zone) or 2-3.”
UTSA forward Nick Allen after grabbing eight rebounds to help UTSA to a 45-35 rebounding edge against USM: “That’s my thing. You really have to have a fearless attitude when you go into that. But it’s also another thing we’ve been keying into in practice. I’ve said to the guys that we’ve got to be tough. Rebounding is one of those things.”
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