Game 26: Idaho (14-11, 6-4) vs. Louisiana Tech (11-13, 3-6)
When: February 11, 2012 (8:05 p.m. PT)
Where: Moscow, Idaho (Cowan Spectrum)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Online Video: VandalXtra
Live Stats: www.GoVandals.com
A Look at the Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech is 11-13 overall and 3-6 in WAC play this season after losing at Utah State, 77-63, on Thursday. The Bulldogs shoot just 40.7 percent, but average nearly five more possessions than their opponents and score 68.4 points per game. They allow 69.9 points on 44.6 shooting and force 15.0 turnovers per game. The Bulldogs are 3-8 on the road so far this season. LTU is led by WAC Freshman of the Year frontrunner, Raheem Appleby, who averages 14.3 points on 45.9 percent shooting. Cordarius Johnson leads the team with 1.8 made 3-pointers per game on 34.1 percent shooting, while he and Michale Kyser lead the team with 4.1 rebounds per game apiece.
Louisiana Tech Head Coach Michael White
Michael White is in his first season as head coach at Louisiana Tech. He is 11-13 in his head coaching career, which started this year after a seven-year term as an assistant at Ole Miss, which he helped lead to four postseason berths and five SEC West titles. He helped lead the Rebels to four 20-win seasons in his final five years with the program. He also served as an assistant at Jacksonville State for three seasons. He is a 1999 graduate of Ole Miss.
Vandals and Bulldogs
Idaho and Louisiana Tech meet for the 15th time on Saturday, and the Vandals have their first chance in series history to post a season sweep. Idaho has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams in Moscow, including last year’s 77-47 victory on Dec. 31, 2010, which is Idaho’s biggest WAC win. Three of the last four meetings in the series have been decided by double figures, but the first game this season was the first in series history to go to overtime.
The First Time Around...
Idaho and Louisiana Tech put on quite a show at the Thomas Assembly Center on Jan. 12, in a 90-88 Idaho overtime win. The game featured 10 ties and four lead changes. Idaho eliminated a 13-point second-half deficit, but LTU eliminated a four-point Idaho advantage with less than two minutes to play and forced OT. Idaho senior Landon Tatum scored a career-high 20 points in the game, 13 of which came at the free throw line, while Deremy Geiger had 23 for the Vandals. Brandon Gibson led Tech with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
Coaches vs. Cancer
Saturday's game is Idaho's Coaches vs. Cancer game, sponsored by Relay for Life. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game, and those who do will be rewarded with free admission. There will be raffles and fundraisers throughout the games of the doubleheader, all in support of cancer research.
Wins in High Places
Idaho has won WAC games against the league’s top-ranked team (Nevada) and number two team (New Mexico State) in its last two conference games. In those contests, the Vandals shot a combined 50-of-98 (.510) and limited the two opposing teams to 48-of-112 (.429) shooting. The wins are also important for WAC seeding purposes. The Vandals have now split the season series with both teams currently ranked ahead of them in the conference standings.
Tugging on the Heart Strings
Idaho started the season 1-5 in its first six games decided by five points or fewer, but the Vandals have won their last six such games since the 63-59 home win over Fresno State. The last time Idaho had a similar streak in close games was Don Verlin’s first season, 2008-09, when the team also tallied five straight wins in close games over Boise State (56-54), Cal State Northridge (78-75), Fresno State (71-68), Fresno State (59-56) and Drake (69-67).
Click on the PDF link above to view complete game notes.