Louisiana Tech was looing for that signature road win heading into conference play. Tech beat TCU 68-63earlier in the season, but lost at New Mexico and Arizona.
Houston came in with a record of 7-3. The Cougars had lost to Mississippi State, San Diego, and Nevada. They had beaten TCU by 24 and they got past Oklahoma 100-93 in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Magnum Rolle and Kyle Gibson led Louisiana Tech with 29 and 28 points respectively. Rolle was big down the stretch. The senior big man finished 13 of 15 from the field and added 10 rebounds. Gibson was 10 of 18 of the field and 6 of 6 at the line.
All five of Tech's starters played at least 35 minutes. Jamel Guyton added 15 points and DeAndre Brown chipped in 9 points and 6 assists.
Houston was able to stay in the game by hitting 12 of 28 from three point range. The Cougars also collected 15 steals that led to 20 Bulldog turnovers. Louisiana Tech controlled the game inside. Not only did the Bulldogs make over half of their shots, they also outrebounded Houston 55-32. Ashaolu and Rolle were able to dominate the glass and give Tech second chances and at the same limit the Cougars to just one attempt each trip down the floor.
Louisiana Tech opens WAC play this weekend as they host Nevada on Saturday and Uah State on Monday.
Nevada beat Portland on Monday 78-69 to improve to 8-5. The Wolf Pack is 7-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. Nevada beat Tulsa and lost to BYU in Las Vegas. Luke Babbittleads the way for Nevada with 19.8 points and 9.5 rebounds. Armon Johnson is averaging 17 points and a team high 4.85 assists per game.
Utah State beat Division 2 Western Oregon 78-42. Utah State is 10-4 heading into the weekend. The Aggies open WAC play at New Mexico State on Saturday before heading to Ruston on Monday.
In two recent road games, Utah State beat Cal State Bakersfield 68-51, but lost at Long Beach State two days later by a score of 75-62. Tai Wesley leads the Aggies with 14 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Jared Quayle averages 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.5 Assists. Nate Bendall is the third Aggies averaing double figures with 11.3 points to go with a team high 6.8 rebounds per game. Quayle has hit a teamleading 25 three point shots out of just 54 attempts.
Louisiana Tech has a chance to take an early lead in the WAC race. Getting two traditional WAC powers at home to start the conference schedule gives the Bulldogs a chance to create a little space in the standings. Head Coach Kerry Rupp doesn't get too long to enjoy the Houston victory with the Wold Pack and Aggies headed his way. He will get a chance to see where his team stands against two teams annually picked to win the league title.