Houston Baptist (1-1) at Louisiana (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 18th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cajundome (12,800) -- Lafayette, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: HBU 1-0, Louisiana 0-0. Away Record: HBU 0-1, Louisiana 0-1.Neutral Record: HBU 0-0, Louisiana 1-1. Conference Record: HBU 0-0, Louisiana 0-0. Series Record: Louisiana leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: Louisiana will see its first action at home as it hosts Houston Baptist in the opening round of the Beryl Shipley Classic at the Cajundome.
The Huskies are 1-1 after a season-opening loss to Campbell and an overtime- win over Bethune-Cookman. Houston Baptist finished 5-26 overall and 2-12 in the Great West in 2010-2011. Ron Cottrell is 396-255 as he is in the early part of his 21st season with Houston Baptist. The Huskies moved into the NCAA Division I ranks in 2009-2010 after years of being a perennial powerhouse in the NAIA ranks.
Louisiana is 1-2 after its trip to the Hilltop Challenge where it beat Northern Arizona before losing to North Dakota State and San Francisco. Bob Marlin is in his second season at Louisiana after he led the Ragin' Cajuns to a 14-15 and first place Sun Belt West Division finish last season. Marlin's career record is 240-148.
Louisiana holds a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series against Houston Baptist. The Ragin' Cajuns have a seven-game home winning-streak going into the game against the Huskies.
Joe Latas has been the leader of the Huskies so far with an average of 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. The senior big man made the game-winning lay- up to give him a total of 19 points and 14 rebounds in the win over Bethune- Cookman. Tyler Russell got it going in the win as well as he scored 14 off the bench on 7-of-13 shooting. Houston Baptist has not shot particularly well so far as it is making 40 percent of its shots from the field and just 29.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Huskies' opponents are shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from three point range, but the defense is forcing an average of 22.5 turnovers per game. Houston Baptist has been even in the rebounding battle with its opponents this year.
Sophomore J.J. Thomas is leading the Ragin' Cajuns with 11 points and 6.5 rebounds a game. Darshawn McClellan is second on the team with 10 a game and Elfrid Payton is scoring 9.7 per contest off the bench. Louisiana has been efficient from two-point range as it is shooting 44.6 percent from the field, but has struggled from beyond the arc with a 27.8 percent from three. The Ragin' Cajuns defense has allowed 71.7 points per game on 42.5 percent shooting. Louisiana has a positive assist-to-turnover ratio as it has 49 assists and 45 turnovers so far.
This is a very evenly matched contest. Latas is going to be the key in this one. If the Ragin' Cajuns can limit the big man's touches and effectiveness, they should be able to extend their home winning streak. However, that won't be easy to do as Latas has been aggressive early on this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Houston Baptist 70, Louisiana 69
11/18 10:37:52 ET