David Jackson Comes Up Big

Coach Kerry Rupp has leaned heavily on his starters and has rarely had to change the lineup. Only one bench player averages more than double-digit minutes.

But it was that one player -- senior forward David Jackson -- who came up big at a key time Feb. 27 when star guard Kyle Gibson was sidelined with an ankle injury. Jackson stepped in and poured 12 points in the first half as the Bulldogs got a 60-49 home victory over Idaho.

If the Vandals were hoping to focus defensively on the rest of Tech's starters, Jackson ruined that strategy. He hit 5 of 8 shots, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked two shots.

Jackson finished with a season-high 13 points. His rebounding total tied a career high.

"He didn't take a back seat or concede to some of those other guys," Kerry Rupp said in the Monroe News-Star. "He really gave us some leadership and direction. He really looked for his shot, and he competed well."

The victory came at a good time because the Bulldogs were coming off an embarrassing 72-59 home loss to Boise State, which entered the game with only two league wins.

NOTES, QUOTES --Four Louisiana Tech seniors played their final home game on Feb. 27 against Idaho. They are SG Kyle Gibson, SF Jamel Guyton, PF Olu Ashaolu, C Magnum Rolle and F David Jackson.

--Through Feb. 27, Louisiana Tech was shooting 34.5 percent from 3-point range for the season, but the Bulldogs have struggled from long distance in the WAC. In league games only, they were making just 31.4 percent (76 of 242) from behind the arc.

ON THE SPOT: The Bulldogs have been on the best rebounding teams in the WAC, thanks to energetic Olu Ashaolu (8.5 per game, through Feb. 27) and athletic big man Magnum Rolle (8.4). With road games coming up against Fresno State and Nevada (poor rebounding teams) in the final week of the regular season, the Bulldogs need to assert that dominance on the glass to help negate significant home-court advantages.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When somebody goes down with an injury, what usually happens is somebody gets an opportunity to really show what they can do. That's why you come every day, you practice hard, you stay focused, and you stay on top of what we're doing." -- Coach Kerry Rupp, in the Monroe News-Star, after David Jackson stepped into the starting lineup for Kyle Gibson against Idaho.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL SEASON RECAP: With a great start to the season, surprising Louisiana Tech appeared to a possibility for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Not anymore. The Bulldogs hit a rough patch starting in late January and have been on a lose-one, win-one pattern for the past 10 games, through Feb. 27. The win over Idaho moved Tech to 22-7 overall, so the Bulldogs will be going somewhere for the postseason ... just not the NCAAs, unless they win the WAC tourney.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- PG DeAndre Brown, SG Kyle Gibson, SF Jamel Guyton, PF Olu Ashaolu, C Magnum Rolle. Key Subs -- F David Jackson, F Darius Redding, G Yonas Berhe, G Anson Bartlett.

GAME REVIEW: Louisiana Tech 70, Northeastern 67 Boise State 72, Louisiana Tech 59 Louisiana Tech 60, Idaho 49

GAME PREVIEW: at Fresno State, Thursday, March 4 at Nevada, Saturday, March 6 WAC Tournament (Reno, Nev.), Thursday-Saturday, March 11-13

IN FOCUS: The Bulldogs beat Nevada 77-71 to open conference play on Jan. 2, and both teams enter the week at 9-5 in the league, tied for third place. The rematch could very well be for the No. 3 seed in the WAC tournament. If the teams end up tied in the standings, having split the season series, the next tiebreaker would be how they fared against the No. 1 team in the league. That tiebreaker would favor Tech (assuming Utah State goes on to win the league) because the Bulldogs split against the Aggies while Nevada was swept.

ROSTER REPORT: --G Kyle Gibson missed the Idaho game on Feb. 27 because of a sprained ankle suffered two days earlier against Boise State. Gibson was considered "day to day," according to coach Kerry Rupp.

--Sophomore G Anson Bartlett received more playing time than usual against Idaho because of Kyle Gibson's ankle injury. Bartlett played 20 minutes, with three points, a career-high six rebounds and three steals.

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