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White Out returns to TAC

January 26, 2012

Junior center/forward J.L. Lewis, left, and sophomore guard Lonnie Smith fight to make a play against a Utah State defender. The Bulldogs are set to return home and White Out the Thomas Assembly Center at 6 p.m. tonight as they take on Fresno State in a Battle of the Bone. – Photo by Dacia Idom

Bulldogs set for Battle of the Bone with Fresno State at home

 

ANNA CLAIRE THOMAS
Sports Editor

 

After breathing a sigh of relief with two consecutive wins on the road in conference play, head coach Michael White and his Bulldogs are set to “White Out” the Thomas Assembly Center as they take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in what is sure to be the must-see matchup Tech fans have been waiting for.

 

The Battle of the Bone will tip off at 6 p.m. tonight in the TAC, with the first 500 students receiving free “White Out” T-shirts in support of the return of the second annual White Out game. The game will also be nationally televised on the WAC Sports Network.

 

The matchup will pit Fresno State against the Bulldogs, who have an even .500 record at 10-10 and are 2-3 in Western Athletic Conference play. Fresno State comes into the game with a 9-12 record and is 1-4 in conference.

 

Tech enters the game booming with confidence after successfully navigating their way through the West Coast.

 

The Bulldogs headed west last week in dire need of a win after dropping their first three home conference games. In games against Hawaii and San Jose State, the ’Dogs came out victorious and returned home to Ruston with two WAC wins under their belts and their first conference road win in almost two years.

 

White said while the long road trip was tough to handle, winning a game on someone else’s court did nothing but boost the confidence of his players coming into the contest with Fresno State.

 

“It was a really neat experience for our program overall,” he said. “To break through in the WAC overall, but to break through on the road was extra special. The kids pulled together through some tough travel and really played well. We got better over the road trip and played well enough to break through. It’s time to take that newfound confidence and energy level and swagger that we generated on the road and break through at home.”

 

The Bulldogs senior leader, guard Brandon Gibson, also spoke of the importance the team have put on getting their first conference wins at home this weekend before hitting the road again.

 

“Every game is big but, this one is real big because we lost two at home before and these next two are going to be real big for us because we need them,” he said. “We need them bad to set the tone at home and you have got to protect your home court. We’ve got home court advantage so we can’t lose at home.”

 

The Bulldogs also have a chance to notch their first home wins in WAC play tonight and Saturday, as they will also take on the Nevada Wolf Pack at 7 p.m. in the TAC and wrap up a two-game home stand before hitting the road once again.

 

White expects his team to come into the two games against Fresno State and Nevada with plenty of confidence and stressed the importance of home court advantage for his young squad.

 

“I think it gives us confidence,” he said. “If we come with the same approach, we’ll have equal success. We’ve got two really good teams coming in, but we are at home in the friendly confines of the TAC and we have to step up, especially offensively late and not play tight. We have to play loose like we have nothing to lose like we do on the road.”

 

Tech is led offensively by the impressive play of freshman guard Raheem Appleby, who has caught fire as of late and is averaging just under 14 points a game for the Bulldogs.

 

White said the play of Appleby has been instrumental in the ’Dogs success in their two latest road games.

 

“Right now, he’s playing as well offensively as anyone in our league,” he said. “He’s tremendous. And that’s doesn’t take anything away from the rest of his game. He’s getting about 14 (points) a game. He’s been phenomenal.”

 

As for the team as a whole, White said the contests against Fresno State will match two teams against each other in need of wins, which is bound to result in an intense game on the court of the TAC for Tech fans to enjoy plenty.

 

“It will be interesting,” White said. It’s a very good team and program. It will be a good challenge for us.”

 

The game will feature several promotions by the Tech Athletics Department, including free concessions while supplies last and anyone under the age of 17 will be admitted to the game free of charge.

 

Door prizes will also be given throughout the game to a few lucky fans.

 

For fans unable to be in attendance, the game will be available via Gametracker on latechsports.com and can also be heard on the LaTech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz calling the action for the Bulldogs.

 

All fans in attendance are encouraged to wear white in support of the Bulldogs in their quest for victory tonight.

 

 

Email comments to act013@latech.edu.

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