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Men’s college basketball: Bulldogs set for quarterfinal matchup in Frisco

By Kane McGuire, Louisiana Tech Assistant Athletic Director /Athletic Communications 

RUSTON – After receiving a first-round bye, the Conference USA West Division champion Louisiana Tech opens the 2021 C-USA Basketball Championship on Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. on Court A at the Ford Center at the Star.

LA Tech, the No. 1 West seed, will take on either No. 4 East Florida Atlantic or No. 5 West UTEP.  It will be broadcast by Stadium with Chris Vosters and John Giannini calling the game.  Fans can watch the live stream at WatchStadium.com or catch the game on Cox Sports Television.  Malcolm Butler and Jack Thigpen will also call the action through the LA Tech Sports Network.

The Bulldog head into the tournament as one of, if not the, hottest teams in the league.  They have won five straight and nine of their last 10 games.

They finished off the regular season with a 99-66 non-conference win over Our Lady of the Lake.  All twelve active players saw at least 12 minutes of action.  The ‘Dogs used a 41-7 run in the first half to pull away and ended up making a season-high 41 field goals, the most in a single game since 2014.

Postseason awards were handed out this Monday and Tuesday and LA Tech (20-6) took home a handful.  Eric Konkol was named C-USA Gene Bartow Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 20-win season and a West Division title with a 12-4 league mark, this after being picked seventh in the preseason poll.

Kenneth Lofton Jr. racked up, earning C-USA Freshman of the Year and Third Team All-Conference USA. He was also a member of the C-USA All-Freshman Team.  Averaging 11.2 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game, the forward was the only freshman to also be selected All-Conference USA.

Joining him as a Third Team All-Conference USA selection was Isaiah Crawford.  After having his freshman year cut short due to a season-ending knee injury, the forward returned as a sophomore to lead LA Tech in scoring with an average of 11.8 points per game.

Lastly, Cobe Williams was voted to the C-USA All-Defensive Team after anchoring the top-rated defense in the league which is ranked 35th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.  The ‘Dogs are ranked first in the league and in the top 20 in the country in field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense.  

Outside of this trio, other key players are Kalob Ledoux who has found his shooting stroke again.  The senior sharpshooter has made 12 threes in his last three games.  Also, Amorie Archibald has recorded 18 assists over the last three games with only five turnovers.

Potential opponent Florida Atlantic (12-9) enters the tourney having won four straight.  The Owls are averaging 78.6 points per game, which ranks 38th in the country.  They are also one of the top rebounding teams in the nation, averaging 40.8 boards per contest.

LA Tech and FAU did not face each other this season, but they did square off in the 2019 C-USA Tournament with the Bulldogs coming out on top, 57-56.

UTEP (12-11) won its last four league games before falling to nationally-ranked Kansas in a non-conference game to end the season.  The Miners are anchored by two All-Conference USA selections in Souley Boum and Bryson Williams who combine to average almost 34 points a game.

The Bulldogs and Miners split their two-game series in El Paso back in January.  The two teams have never met in the C-USA Tournament.

Fans can also follow Bulldog Basketball on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) for live in-game updates.    

— Featured photo by Darrell James

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