Men's Basketball

Bulldogs Aim to Get Back on Track Saturday versus Golden Eagles

Jan. 22, 2016

GameDay Central | Game Notes

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RUSTON ââ'¬" Louisiana Tech aims to get back on the right track this Saturday when they travel to face Southern Miss at 7 p.m. inside Reed Green Coliseum.

The matchup will be broadcast live by the American Sports Network with Doug Bell and Chris Walker calling the action. Along with the TV stations carrying the game, fans can also watch the live stream by subscribing to LA Tech All-Access.

Live audio of the game will also be available. The game can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston), KRMD 1340 AM (Shreveport) and KJVC 92.7 FM (Mansfield). The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play and Jack Thigpen will provide analysis.

Five games into Conference USA action, LA Tech (13-5, 2-3 C-USA) finds itself in the middle of the pack after dropping back-to-back road games this past weekend to FIU and Florida Atlantic.

The Bulldogs ran into a hot-shooting Panthers team that went 57 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Two days later, the 'Dogs built as much as a 24-point lead only to see it vanish in the second half with the Owls hitting a game-winner three-pointer at the end.

"Our team is really focused on how we can improve," head coach Eric Konkol said. "We have a lot of guys in different roles this year going through this for the first time. "There is a lot of parity and competitive play in conference. We just have to keep staying the course and believe in what we are doing. Our goal this season is to be playing our best basketball at the end of February and early March."

On the rise right now are the performances of Dayon Griffin and Merrill Holden. Griffin has been lighting it up from three-point range as he is tied for the best field goal percentage (62.5) in league games while going 15-of-24.

Meanwhile, Holden is starting to get back to where he was in the fall before he injured his thumb which sidelined him for the first 10 games. In the two games in Florida, he averaged 12.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while also making his first start of the year.

In order to stop a potential three-game losing skid, which would be a first since the 2012-13 season, the Bulldogs will need to get a victory in a place where victories have been hard to come by in years past.

Since Reed Green Coliseum opened in 1965, LA Tech has faced Southern Miss (5-11, 2-3 C-USA) there 15 times and has only come away with three wins, one of which was last season which ended a 43-year drought.

With both teams idle on Thursday, the two travel partners will square off in Hattiesburg after already facing one another in Ruston three weeks ago.

"Southern Miss is playing well," Konkol said. "They just beat FIU. They beat Old Dominion at home and we now have to go to their place. Anytime you play on the road, it is going to be a challenge. We need to be ready to play."

The 'Dogs were ready to play last time, especially Erik McCree who poured in a career-high 30 points in a convincing 87-57 win.

Since then, USM has pulled off two victories against the Panthers and Monarchs. The Golden Eagles rank second in the league in scoring defense, allowing just 66.8 points per game which ranks 69th in the country. They have held opponents to 60 points or less six times this season, including the last two games.

Senior guard Kourtlin Jackson paces the team with an average of 11.3 points per game. He posted a game-high 23 points in the win over FIU.

Saturday will mark the 77th all-time meeting between these two squads.

Twitter users can also receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.

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