SBJ College Hoop Scoop: Local D-1 teams chasing Christmas cheer

BALL HAWK:  Junior Cobe Williams has made five steals in each of the last two games for Louisiana Tech, which plays at home today at noon against Jarvis Christian. (Photo by KANE MCGUIRE, Louisiana Tech Athletics)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

’Twas the game before Christmas, which as Baylor coach Scott Drew puts it, makes the difference between a holiday break or a merry Christmas.

For the area’s Division I basketball programs, most of those contests are in the books. However, the Louisiana Tech men will be expected to head home happy after today’s noon game at the Thomas Assembly Center against underdog Jarvis Christian. The Bulldogs are likely to be the exception, not the rule, as the other teams at Tech, Grambling and Northwestern State will need to find good tidings at home and not in their last outings before Saint Nick makes his rounds.

MEN 

Louisiana Tech:  The Bulldogs (6-5, 0-1 in Conference USA) should roll at home today and get untracked offensively after a miserable outing in their CUSA debut Saturday night at UTEP. In that 60-55 loss, Tech committed 20 turnovers and made just 4-of-25 from behind the 3-point arc. The 55 points was a season low, along with the 16 field goals made. Bright spot: junior guard Cobe Williams made five steals for the second straight game.

Next game:  Today at home, noon against Jarvis Christian. 

Grambling State:  The Tigers (6-5) have dropped their last two on a northern swing that wraps up, weather permitting, Friday night at No. 17 Wisconsin. Grambling fell 74-48 Saturday at No. 24 Virginia Tech, then was dumped 75-56 Monday down the road in Lynchburg by Liberty. 

Next game: Friday at No. 17 Wisconsin. 

Northwestern State: The Demons (8-4) were flying high heading into Saturday’s visit to Rice. Then the Owls shot 67 percent and flew past NSU 110-73. Monday night, Northwestern played much more competitively but missed its first 10 3-pointers after halftime, fell behind by 16 and got no closer than eight in a 58-48 loss at No. 12 Baylor.

Next game:  Dec. 27 at Texas A&M

WOMEN 

Louisiana Tech: The Lady Techsters (7-4, 0-1) suffered a surprising league-opening homecourt loss to UTEP, 62-54, despite shooting 51 percent from the floor to 36 percent for the visitors. But the Miners combined offensive rebounding with Tech turnovers to get off 25 more shots and held on for a CUSA road win that will fester for the Techsters, who have an 11-day break between that one and the next one.

Next game:  Dec. 29 at UTSA.

Grambling:  The Lady Tigers are done with their brutal non-conference schedule after dropping a competitive 56-45 decision at TCU. It’s all Southwestern Athletic Conference competition from here.

Next game: Jan. 2 at Prairie View.

Northwestern State: The Lady Demons (4-6) are also finished with out-of-conference play after a 96-64 drubbing at Tulsa on Monday night. They’ll open the Southland season against preseason favorite Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Next game:  Dec. 30 at home against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Contact Doug at sbjdoug@gmail.com