On February 5th, Louisiana Tech went into Reno and knocked off the Wolf Pack 78-75. Tech will have to repeat the performance tonight if they want to play for the WAC Championship. It is a tall order for sure, but they proved they can do it. One player can answer that tall order for the Bulldogs, and that is Magnum Rolle.
Rolle went out with 2 fouls after just four minutes in last night's 70-62 win over Idaho. He finished with just 9 points in 20 minutes. Tonight, Rolle will have to come up big for Tech to advance.
Kyle Gibson led all scorers with 23 points for Tech. Gibson hit 4 three pointers for the game, all in the first half. He had help from a couple of freshmen too. Brandon Gibson scored all ten of his points in the first half, including two from long range. Olu Ashaolu did most of his damage in the second half. Ashaolu took over inside for Rolle and finished with 14 points on 6-8 shooting.
Freshman Luke Babbit and sophomore Armon Johnson combined for 50 points for Nevada in their loss to Tech. The Bulldogs countered with a balanced effort to come up with the win. Nevada has been at the top of the WAC for a while and their future is bright. Louisiana Tech has a chance to send a message tonight. If they want to get to the top of the WAC themselvers, the Bulldogs must beat teams like Nevada and they must beat them in the postseason.
Thats where Magnum Rolle steps in. Babbit is joined inside with fellow freshman Dario Hunt. Nevada's three tallest players are all freshmen and none come close to matching Rolle's height or athleticism. Rolle doesn't have to do it himself, but he has to stay out of foul trouble and play well inside.
Tech always has a chance if either Kyle Gibson or Jamel Guyton gets hot from the outside and either Rolle or Ashaolu come up big inside. If three of the four players put together good games, Tech is really hard to beat.
With a win, Louisiana Tech would advance to the WAC championship for the first time. They would reach 16 wins for the second time since 2001-2002. A win would also put them within eyesight of the Big Dance. The Bulldogs have not played in the NCAA tournament since Ron Ellis,P.J. Brown, and Anthony Dade led them there in 1991.
While the Big Dance is two big wins away, it is still fun to be able to talk about postseason basketball and the Dunkin Dawgs. Be sure to stay up late and watch the Dawgs as they try to beat Nevada for a second straight time in Reno.