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Louisiana Tech (21-5) at East Carolina (13-13)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Minges Coliseum (8,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: La Tech 12-1, ECU 7-6. Away Record: La Tech 6-3, ECU 3-7. Neutral Record: La Tech 3-1, ECU 3-0. Conference Record: La Tech 9-2, ECU 2-9. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will try to keep hold of the top spot in the Conference USA standings tonight, as they tangle with the East Carolina Pirates at Minges Coliseum.

Louisiana Tech has reeled off four straight wins to move into a three-way tie for first place along with UTEP and Middle Tennessee. The Bulldogs are coming off Saturday's 85-46 trouncing of Rice. However, that victory came on their home floor, and beginning with tonight's contest the Bulldogs will close out the regular-season schedule by playing four of their final five games on the road.

Meanwhile, East Carolina is opening a three-game homestand. The Pirates were also in action last Saturday and suffered a tough, 53-51 setback at North Texas. The loss was their second in a row and ninth over their past 11 games.

This bout marks the first-ever meeting between East Carolina and C-USA newcomer Louisiana Tech in men's basketball.

The Bulldogs did not face a whole lot of resistance in Saturday's lopsided win over Rice, as they held a 41-24 rebounding advantage and forced 23 turnovers, which yielded a huge 25-9 edge in points off turnovers. The Owls, who came in averaging better than eight 3-pointers per game, failed to register a trey in the opening half and finished with only five for the game. In fact, no Rice player reached double figures in the scoring column. Meanwhile, Kenyon McNeail led all scorers with 17 points off the bench for a Louisiana Tech squad that boasts the nation's No. 4 scoring offense (84.2 ppg).

McNeail (10.2 ppg) is one of four different players to lead the team in scoring over the last five games, illustrating the Bulldogs' balanced attack in the absence of injured top scorer Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg). Chris Anderson (11.7 ppg) recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 boards in Saturday's win, picking up the slack for Alex Hamilton (14.8 ppg), who shot just 3-of-11 from the floor and finished with eight points.

Like Tech's last opponent, ECU is also a dangerous outside shooting team that leads the conference with an average of 8.4 threes made per game, which ranks 23rd nationally. Of course, they also attempt a lot of threes as they rank 17th in the nation in that department (602). Akeem Richmond, a 36.2-percent shooter from beyond the arc, headlines that effort with his team-best and No. 3 league average of 18.1 ppg. Richmond is tied for first in the country with 4.5 threes made per game and is second in total threes made (117).

The Bulldogs put up a tough fight against North Texas but ultimately came up short when Prince Williams' final attempt was blocked with six seconds on the game clock. The loss spoiled another solid showing from freshman Caleb White, who had a game-high 17 points. He has scored 17 or more in four of the last six games. Williams chipped in with 15 points off the bench against the Mean Green, while teammate Michael Zangari matched a personal-best with 11 boards. However, Richmond managed only six points while second-leading scorer Paris Roberts-Campbell (12.6 ppg) failed to register a single point in 36 minutes of action.

Unfortunately for ECU, its outside shooting prowess plays right into the Bulldogs' strength, which is their league-best perimeter defense (.281). In C- USA play, Tech has held foes to an even stingier 24.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana Tech 75, East Carolina 64

02/20 10:25:51 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
 
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
 
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
 
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
 
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
 
4th
WAKE 17
BC 23
 
4th
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
4th
MARS 28
FATL 16
 
4th
PITT 21
GT 42
 
4th
SMISS 13
LATU 24
 
4th
MSU 28
MICH 3
 
4th
KENT 24
MSST 31
 
4th
STAN 38
ORST 7
 
3rd
TCU 54
TTU 20
 
4th
OKST 10
WVU 20
 
3rd
WKENT 56
ODU 44
 
3rd
UTST 27
UNLV 13
 
3rd
MIZZ 17
VANDY 7
 
2nd
UCF 24
TEMPL 14
 
1st
WASU 0
ARZ 7
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
3rd
SJS 1
BUF 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14