WKU (8-3), (1-1, C-USA) tips off against LA Tech (8-3), (1-1, C-USA) in Diddle Arena tomorrow night at 7 p.m. to begin the second Conference USA series of the season.
Last time out for WKU in Charlotte the Hilltoppers fell 75-71 in overtime to split the series. WKU took game one last week over Charlotte 67-63 on the road.
The LA Tech Bulldogs come into Bowling Green after splitting their home series against Marshall last weekend. LA Tech lost 80-73 in their latest game and won their first game 75-68.
“The biggest difference is that they have six guys who have scored 10 or more threes,” head coach Rick Stansbury said of LA Tech. “When you have multiple guys who can shoot the basketball anything can happen on any given night.”
Ahead of the LA Tech series, Stansbury said junior Charles Bassey was not himself at Charlotte last weekend.
“He literally hadn’t done anything since the Alabama game,” Stansbury said. “It was very obvious he did not have any rhythm or conditioning.”
Despite the center having lingering knee and back injuries, he dropped 10 and 11 points respectively on Charlotte. However, Bassey picked up a combined 20 rebounds against the 49ers in those two games.
With this weekend series, WKU is in full swing with their weekly C-USA games meaning it’ll be a consistent schedule moving forward.
“We know everything is going to be challenging,” junior Kevin Osawe said about playing back-to-back nights. “It’s very important to come out hot and come out ready.”
Freshman Kenneth Lofton has started the last seven games for the Bulldogs and this season has averaged 10.5 points per game – a player WKU is keeping an eye on this weekend.
“He’s got a big body and knows how to play,” Stansbury said. “He’s very savvy and crafty around that rim – he’s going to be a very good player for them.
Senior Josh Anderson also has a rim presence that came up in the Charlotte series.
“That’s one of our strengths playing close to the rim,” Anderson said. “That’s one of the game plans which is getting into the paint to get points.”
For LA Tech Lofton is 34-of-62 on free throw attempts this season and scored a combined 23 points against Marshall last weekend. A key for WKU is its bench players that have stepped up this season. At Charlotte, the Hilltoppers had a combined 51 points off of the bench players.
“It’s going to be important to us all year long,” Stansbury said of his bench players. “We think we have bench players that can help us out. Anytime you’re in the second game on the second night that’s always valuable.”
Prior to the series against LA Tech, it’s been announced that the slate against Marshall has changed. Now WKU will host Marshall on Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. and wrap up the back-to-back matchup on the road on Jan. 17 at 1 p.m.
“They were a good team off the bounce,” Anderson said of LA Tech from last season. “We just have to be prepared and not let them get into the paint.”
Sports Editor Nick Kieser can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.