Louisiana Tech (11-13) at Idaho (14-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 11:05 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cowan Spectrum (7,000) -- Moscow, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: LaTech 7-4, Idaho 8-4. Away Record: LaTech 3-8, Idaho 5-6. Neutral Record: LaTech 1-1, Idaho 1-1. Conference Record: LaTech 3-6, Idaho 6-4. Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 10-4.
GAME NOTES: The Idaho Vandals try to make it four wins in a row tonight, as they entertain the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in Western Athletic Conference action at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow.
The Vandals have been coming on strong in recent weeks with three straight wins and victories in seven of their last nine outings in the last month, which means the team is now third in the conference standings at 6-4 after having upset New Mexico State on Thursday night in a narrow 59-58 final at home.
As for the Bulldogs, they are heading in the opposite direction as they try to figure out how to halt a three-game slide tonight. Two nights ago, the team started out strong against Utah State on the road, but then lost steam as they crawled to a 77-63 setback at the Smith Spectrum. With the defeat, LaTech is now just 3-6 in conference play which has it sixth in the WAC standings entering the weekend.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, Louisiana Tech is on top with 10 wins in 14 opportunities. The squad had been perfect at home (6-0) before Idaho captured a 90-88 overtime win in Ruston last month. Games played in Moscow have been split right down the middle, 3-3.
Raheem Appleby continued his strong play with 15 points against USU the other night, although his 1-of-5 shooting behind the three-point line took some of the luster off his performance. Brandon Gibson, also with 15 points, added seven rebounds for the visitors, but his 4-of-12 shooting effort from the floor was less than spectacular as well, the team finishing the night at just 39.7 percent from the field and 29.6 percent out on the perimeter. Appleby, who has held at least a share of the scoring lead in five of the last six games for the Bulldogs, is responsible for 14.3 ppg to pace the team overall this season, while Trevor Gaskins and Cordarius Johnson both check in with 10.2 ppg. Preventing the team from garnering more victories is a free-throw accuracy of just 62.9 percent which is one of the weakest in Division I at the moment.
Djim Bandoumel played the hero on Thursday as he converted a layup in the final moments to put the Vandals over the top against New Mexico State at home. Bandoumel was one of three players who scored in double figures as he tallied 10 points, adding six rebounds and six blocked shots along the way, while Kyle Barone and Stephen Madison checked in with 16 and 10 points, respectively. Barone also cleared eight rebounds and handed out four assists, Madison nine boards for the victors as they survived a mere 1-of-10 shooting behind the three-point line and 6-of-12 at the charity stripe. Over the course of 10 conference games, Barone is pacing four players in double figures with his 12.4 ppg, shooting 51.6 percent from the floor while also pulling down better than seven rebounds per contest. Deremy Geiger, responsible for just five points against the Aggies, is second on the scoring list with 11.8 ppg, followed by Madison (11.3 ppg) and Bandoumel (11.2 ppg), but still the group is being outscored by the rest of the WAC by more than two points per contest.
As long as the Vandals can again spread the wealth and produce a balanced scoring attack they should have what it takes to down the Bulldogs and sweep the season series.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho 70, Louisiana Tech 64
02/11 10:55:14 ET