Dawgs Are 5-1, Face In State Teams This Week

The last time Louisiana Tech got off to this kind of start was also the last time the Bulldogs went to the NCAA tournament.

Louisiana Tech finished 19-9 in 1983, which was Karl Malone's first year. Starting in 1984, the Bulldogs ran off 9 straight 20 win seasons. Led by P.J. Brown and Anthony Dade, Tech got off to 5-1 starts in 1988, 1989, and 1990. The streak ended in 1991, as the Bulldogs started the 1991-1992 season 3-3 before winning 13 of their next 14 games.

That 1991-1992 team, led by seniors Brown and Dade, was the ninth straight 20 win season. It was the previous year, the last time Tech finished 5-1, that the Bulldogs won their conference and went to the Big Dance.

Since those early nineties teams, Tech has won 20 games just three times; twice with Gerrod Henderson and Antonio Meeking, and once with Paul Millsap.

The Bulldogs, who have won three straight, play eight of their next ten games along the I-20 corridor in Louisiana. It starts on Wednesday night as Tech travels thirty minutes east to take on Louisiana-Monroe. Tech beat ULM 69-57 last season in Ruston.

On Saturday, Tech's second all time leading scorer, Mike McConathy, brings his Northwestern State Demons to town. NSU is 3-2 after earning their first road win on Monday with a 83-80 decision over Centenary.

Head Coach Kerry Rupp has his Bulldogs in good shape this season. They have a really good chance to get to ten wins before they enter conference play. Kyle Gibson leads the Bulldogs with 18.8 points per game. Olu Ashaolu is averaging 14.0 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Magnum Rolle and Jamel Guyton both average over 11 points per game. Rolle is blocking over two shots per game, while Guyton is averaging 2.67 shots made from deep.

Rolle had been quiet early in the season, but the 6'11" senior came through with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks against TCU. His last block helped seal the victory as the Bulldogs were clinging to a slim lead in the last minute. Kyle Gibson was able to knock down key free throws to finish the job. Gibson was 13 of 15 at the line against TCU and the senior has made 87.5% of his free throws this year. Kyle wants the ball in his hands in crunch time and has a great ability to score in the lane or draw the foul.

Tech is getting good point guard play from DeAndre Brown and Yonas Berhe. Sean Oliverson is putting in solid minutes at center behind Rolle, and David Jackson is getting over 20 minutes a game as the sixth man. Anson Bartlett and Darius Redding are seeing a little time behind Gibson and Guyton on the wings.

The biggest spark for Coach Rupp so far this season has been Ashaolu. The 6'6" sopomore started the year with 5 straight double-doubles. Olu's ability to finish around the basket and attack the glass has helped draw the defense from Gibson and Guyton on the wings. The Bulldogs are more balanced this year and they have two experienced point guards running the team.

Berhe is in his first full year on the team after arriving midway through last season. Brown was an All-American junior college player that has played in a lot of big games as a high school and juco point guard.

Tech will look to go to 6-1 against a Louisiana-Monroe team that is coming off of a ten point loss to Centenary. ULM is 3-3 on the year.

Tipoff is 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

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