The Bulldogs basketball team is starting off strong this season with a 10-2 record. They look to continue this strong play with a rematch on the road against University of Arkansas at Little Rock Monday.
The ’Dogs played UALR earlier this year on Nov. 14 and the Dogs won 70 to 52.
Junior guard Cordarius Johnson led Louisiana Tech with 17 points in that victory.
Despite the Bulldogs winning, head coach Michael White and other key Bulldogs feel there are things to improve before the rematch against UALR.
In the first meeting versus the Trojans, the ’Dogs lost in the rebound total 43 to 38 and committed nine turnovers. White said he wants to see the team improve in those areas.
Sophomore guard Raheem Appleby leads the ’Dogs in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game, and he shares the same vision as White.
“We’ve got to do the little things like box out and doing the scouting report,” Appleby said. “These are things that coach talked about before the game.”
A lot of the light is shining on Appleby, but fifth-year redshirt senior guard Brandon Gibson carries his share of weight for the ’Dogs.
“The last four years I didn’t have someone to look up to and count on,” said Gibson. “As a senior I would tell the younger guys to not take it for granted.”
Johnson caught White’s eyes this season in the first match up against UALR.
“Johnson has been tremendous thus far with his defensive progress, as well as his rebounding improvement,” White said.
The ‘Dogs have a great outlook for this season, but White said he thinks something else can contribute to the outcome of the season.
“The play of our five newcomers need to continue to progress for us to keep improving as a whole,” White said.
Gibson, Appleby and White have set the bar high for this season and believe the sky is the limit as long as they keep their focus.
“Coach White strives for the NCAA tournament and winning the Western Athletic Conference,” Gibson said. “Myself, Raheem and others say, ‘Who says we can’t make it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament?’ As a team we have high expectations to get deep in the tournament.”
With high expectations come different roadblocks, starting Monday when the Bulldogs visit UALR for the second time this season.
“Yes, they are on the schedule every year and this season we play them once home and away,” Gibson said. “I’m sure they have a bitter taste in their mouth. Every year it seems to get better and better for me.”
The ’Dogs are coming off a sevengame winning streak, but that ended in a close one on the road at Northwestern State 89 to 83.
Hamilton, Johnson, Gibson and Appleby will all need to contribute against the Trojans because the ’Dogs are 0 and 3 in trips to Little Rock, Ark.
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