Bulldogs Try to Regroup at Home

He's not a scorer on the order of San Jose State guard Adrian Oliver, but Louisiana Tech's DeAndre Brown can heat up in a hurry.

Brown, who entered the week second in the WAC in scoring at 16.4 points per game, has twice this season scored 20 points in a half.
  "My teammates look at me to score, and as soon as I hit one I get in a groove," Brown said. "I feel like the basket gets bigger and when it gets bigger I can put the ball in."
  Brown, who scored a career-high 31 points against Northwestern State last month, teams with athletic forward Olu Ashaolu (15.0 points per game) to give the Bulldogs one of the top scoring combinations in the conference.
  With the WAC having a down year, Tech might be able to ride Brown and Ashaolu to the top half of the league, although that is harder to predict after an opening weekend in which the Bulldogs lost at Boise State and Idaho -- the latter by a 77-47 score, the Vandals' biggest WAC win ever.
  The Bulldogs, who were 9-7 entering the week, just don't have much in the low post, and they committed 17.25 turnovers per game, which further undermined the offense. They need to stabilize those two areas before becoming a consistent threat in the league.

NOTES, QUOTES
  --The Bulldogs started 0-2 in the WAC for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
  --Louisiana Tech made a season-low 28.8 percent of its shots from the field in the Dec. 31 loss at Idaho. The Bulldogs made only 54.5 percent from the free throw line, also a season-low.
  --Tech begins home conference play this week. The Bulldogs have won 18 of their past 20 home games, dating to the 2008-09 season.
  BY THE NUMBERS: 4 -- Consecutive double-doubles for F Olu Ashaolu before he had nine points and eight rebounds against Idaho on Dec. 31. Ashaolu had nine double-doubles in the team's first 16 games.
  QUOTE TO NOTE: "Everyone is disappointed about it and we've got to regroup from top to bottom. Everybody has got to work harder and practice harder. We've got to find out what we can do." -- Louisiana Tech coach Kerry Rupp, following a 77-47 loss at Idaho on Dec. 31.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
  THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
  --vs. Fresno State, Jan. 6
  KEY MATCHUPS: Louisiana Tech is coming off a horrible offensive game against Idaho (47 points, 28.8 percent shooting) and will try to bounce back against another team that is trying to make its identity with defense. Fresno State doesn't have scorers like Tech's DeAndre Brown and Olu Ashaolu, but the West Coast Bulldogs do have C Greg Smith, who will be more than a handful for Tech. Coach Kerry Rupp's team needs to collapse on Smith and take its chances with a poor-shooting Fresno State team from the perimeter.
  FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore wing Brandon Gibson suffered a left knee injury early in the Boise State game Dec. 29 and missed the next game, at Idaho. Tech lost both games. Gibson is the team's third-leading scorer (9.2 points per game) and second-best rebounder (5.1), as well as a capable 3-point shooter. Sophomore Tevin Hall made his first career start for Tech while Gibson was absent against Idaho as the Bulldogs went with a smaller lineup. It was not known how long Gibson will be out.
  PLAYER NOTES:
  --Junior C Romario Souza, who missed the first four games as NCAA punishment for having played two games with a professional team in his native Brazil, averaged 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in his first 12 games. Souza, at 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds, has the size that Tech needs.
  --Senior G DeAndre Brown is the team's leading scorer and playmaker, but coach Kerry Rupp said Brown can still give more. "He's got to give us more energy, do a better job on the defensive end, and he's gotta be a go-to guy on offense, whether he's scoring or creating opportunities," Rupp said in the Monroe News-Star

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