Up next: UALR travels to Louisiana Tech on Saturday


UALR (3-8) at
La. Tech (5-5)
7 p.m. Saturday
Ruston, La.
UALR completes a five-year series with Louisiana Tech with a visit to the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La., on Saturday.

Louisiana Tech is 5-5 on the season and has won all three of its home games, beating non-Division I Mississippi College 92-70, Northwestern State 94-93 in double overtime, and McNeese State 60-58. The common opponent is Northwestern State. UALR beat NSU at home and lost in Louisiana.

The Bulldogs are in their first season under new coach Michael White. Just to show how long this series has gone on, White is the third La. Tech coach to be a part of it. The original contract was a one season home and home drawn up by then coach Keith Richard (who is now at Louisiana-Monroe). He was succeeded before those games could be played by Kerry Rupp, who needed to drop one of the UALR games to play somebody else. UALR agreed, but secured an additional four years in the process, in essence giving UALR a free home game at the start. Rupp didn’t survive the length of that deal.

Louisiana Tech is playing an 10-man and sometimes 11-man rotation this year. Ten players are averaging double figures in minutes.

They’ve also got some size in that depth. Last time out, the Bulldogs started 6-1, 6-2, 6-5, 6-8 and 6-10. And they brought 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, 6-5, 6-8 and 6-9 off the bench.
6-5 sophomore Cordarius Johnson is the leading scorer at 13 points per game. 6-2 senior Trevor Gaskins averages 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds (came off the bench last game), while 6-8 junior J.L. Lewis, who once played at New Orleans, averages 7.7 points and 5.4 rebounds.

They’ve also been starting 6-10 Brazilian Romario Souza.

The other starters last game were Arkansans. The point guard is 6-1 Kenyon McNeail from Conway, who is averaging 7.1 points and 2.5 rebounds. He’s got 25 assists and 19 turnovers this season. And a shooting guard is freshman Raheem Appleby, who averages 6.6 points and is from Jacksonville. Appleby became eligible late and ultimately chose Louisiana Tech over UALR. UALR was already full on scholarship and wanted Appleby to walk on this year. He understandably chose the scholarship offer from Louisiana Tech.

Louisiana Tech shoots 40 percent from the field, but allows opponents to shoot 42. More than 37 percent of their field-goal attempts are three-pointers (they shoot 32 percent from there). Inside the arc, the Bulldogs make 45 percent of their shots.

Their big disparity this year has been the free throw line, where they get outscored an average of 18-11 each game. The Bullodogs go to the line 17 times per game, but their opponents go 27 times per game.