NIT Semifinals today at 3 PM, No. 4 Mississippi State vs. No. 4 Louisiana Tech; Bulldogs game preview


Tipoff is set on ESPN

RUSTON – For the first time in 35 years, Louisiana Tech will take part in the NIT Final Four as they square off against Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. inside the Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas.
The matchup will be broadcast live on ESPN and the WatchESPN app with John Schriffen and Fran Fraschilla calling the action.  Fans can also listen to Malcolm Butler and Jack Thigpen call the game through the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM and the LA Tech Athletics app.
LA Tech (23-7) advanced to the semifinals with a 72-65 victory over conference foe Western Kentucky on Thursday.  The Bulldogs shot a blazing 61.1 percent from beyond the arc, draining 11 three-pointers which tied a postseason record for the program. 
Kalob Ledoux did the majority of that damage from deep, making his first five three-point attempts and finishing 6-of-7 from downtown.  The sharpshooter poured in a game-high 20 points.  Over the last seven games, he has made 23 triples.
Kenneth Lofton, Jr. was another Bulldog in double-figures, scoring 11 points.  He did a little bit of everything with seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.  Over the two NIT games, the freshman is averaging 16 points and seven boards. 
The Bulldog defense flexed their muscle again, holding the Hilltoppers to 34.8 percent shooting from the field.  In all three meetings versus WKU this season, LA Tech limited them to less than 36 percent shooting. 
LA Tech has now won eight of its last nine and 15 of its last 18 games. 
Mississippi State (17-14) has advanced to the NIT Final Four after a 74-68 victory over Saint Louis followed by a 68-67 win versus Richmond. 
Second All-SEC selection D.J. Stewart, Jr. hit the game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds to defeat the Spiders.  The sophomore guard is averaging 21.0 points in the two NIT games and is averaging 16.2 points per game this season.  He also leads MSU in assists (96) and steals (44). 
MSU has one of the best defenses in the SEC, ranking second in the league and 30th in the country in field goal percentage defense (40.4).  They also rank 18th in the nation in rebounding margin at +7.3, outrebounding their opponents in 25 of the 31 games.
The two Bulldog squads are meeting for the 17th time, the most for La Tech against a current SEC opponent.  MSU holds a 10-6 advantage, but LA Tech won the previous meeting in 2019 in Starkville by a score of 74-67. 
A win would put LA Tech in the NIT Championship for the first time in program history.  That game is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. CT.  A loss would send the ‘Dogs into the consolation game, which will be played on Sunday at 2 p.m. CT.  ESPN will broadcast both contests.
Twitter users can follow @LATechHoops for live in-game updates.


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