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FIU (9-7) at Louisiana Tech (13-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas Assembly Center (8,098) -- Ruston, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: FIU 5-2, La Tech 6-1. Away Record: FIU 3-3, La Tech 4-1. Neutral Record: FIU 1-2, La Tech 3-1. Conference Record: FIU 1-0, La Tech 1-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will attempt to extend their winning streak to six games on Saturday night, as they close out a three-game homestand against the FIU Panthers in a Conference USA showdown.

FIU opened up C-USA action on Thursday night by capturing an impressive 71-60 road victory over Rice to snap a three-game losing streak. It was the first win away from home this season for the Panthers, who sit with a 9-7 overall record.

Louisiana Tech also began league play on Thursday night to positive results, taking down Florida Atlantic at home by a convincing 84-64 final to extend its winning streak. The Bulldogs, who are looking to match their six-game spurt from earlier in the season, are a stellar 13-3 overall, including 6-1 at Thomas Assembly Center.

The Panthers and the Bulldogs have never before played one another. This is FIU's first season as a member of C-USA after coming over from the Sun Belt Conference.

FIU endured a tight, back-and-forth battle for much of its latest contest against Rice before pulling away late by finishing the game on an 8-0 run to capture the 11-point victory. It enjoyed a strong field goal shooting night at 26-of-52 (.500), with Tymell Murphy acting as the catalyst with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Dennis Mavin was also stellar, tallying 16 points, nine rebounds and four assists.

On the season, the Panthers shoot an impressive 45.4 percent from the field while holding their opponents to just 41.6 percent shooting, but they score just 71.2 ppg and allow nearly as many points at 70.2 ppg. The team's disappointing -2.7 turnover margin plays a big part in leveling the playing field for its opponents. Its strength clearly come in the frontcourt, where Murphy (16.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Rakeem Buckles (13.8 ppg, 9.9 rpg) have played well on both ends of the floor, with the duo also combining for 50 blocks and 39 steals. Raymond Taylor (12.2 ppg) and Mavin (11.4 ppg) are also integral pieces to the puzzle despite each shooting less than 38 percent from the field.

The Bulldogs were actually outshot from the field by FAU in their C-USA opener earlier in the week, 43.5 percent to 43.1 percent, but they still cruised to a 20-point victory by earning extra possessions with advantages in the rebounding (44-39) and turnover battles (19-9) while also outscoring the Owls at the foul line, 18-6. Michale Kyser tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, Alex Hamilton scored 14, Cordarius Johnson came off the bench to net 12 and Chris Anderson added 10.

Louisiana Tech's outstanding record has been well represented in its statistical production, as it shoots 47.6 percent from the field for 86.0 ppg (10th in the nation) while also playing outstanding defense (.398, 67.3 ppg). Great margins in terms of rebounding (+5.2) and turnovers (+4.7) certainly go a long way in supporting these numbers. Leading scorer Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg) needed to leave Thursday's game with an ankle injury and is questionable for this contest. In the event that Appleby misses time, Hamilton (14.9 ppg), Anderson (10.6 ppg), Johnson (9.5 ppg) and Kyser (7.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4.1 bpg) will be asked to step up their play.

Louisiana Tech showed on Thursday night that even without its top scorer, it has more than enough firepower to remain a strong threat on its home floor. Regardless of Appleby's status, figure for the Bulldogs to get the best of the Panthers.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 80, FIU 71

01/11 12:34:58 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
Final
CLE 105
MEM 91
Final
MIA 100
BOS 84
Final
BRK 110
DET 105
Final
SAC 108
LAL 101
Final
ORL 88
PHI 96
Final
WAS 92
PHO 104
Final
MIN 96
IND 100
Final
OKC 99
NOP 101
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
Final
NICST 64
TROY 65
 
Final
BRAD 47
UCI 55
 
Final
UGA 65
SHU 47
Final
ALA 60
APP 59
Final
KSU 53
NDST 52
 
Final
WASU 82
SJST 53
Final
UTEP 78
ALCOR 45
 
Final
SEAT 66
SACST 47
 
Final
DET 1
COL 2
Final
EDM 5
DAL 6
Final
BOS 4
BUF 3
Final
NYR 1
CAR 0
Final
CHI 4
TOR 0
Final
WIN 3
PHI 4
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
Final
STL 27
NYG 37
Final
OAK 26
BUF 24
Final
DAL 42
IND 7
Final
ARI 6
SEA 35