La Tech Scouting Report: Kenneth Lofton Jr. and Everyone Else
The UTEP men's basketball team loves challenges. Tomorrow night at the Don Haskins Center, they could have their biggest task of the season: Kenneth Lofton Jr. and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.
The freshman from Port Arthur, Texas is averaging 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. He is officially listed at 6-7 and 275 pounds. However, when fans see Lofton Jr. on the court for the first time, they immediately see someone who does not physically resemble a dominant scorer and post player. Looks can be deceiving as Miners head coach Joe Golding pointed out yesterday after practice.
To better illustrate what Lofton can do on the floor, here is the condensed game between La Tech and North Carolina State, which was played on November 26th. Take 11 minutes out of your day to watch the big man drop 36 points on the Wolfpack and he also pulled down 18 boards.
Coach Golding has spent much of the week working on a game plan to help contain Lofton Jr. As good as the big man is, the Bulldogs have other playmakers on the court. Senior guard Amorie Archibald (13.7 pts, 3.6 reb, and 2.8 ast) along with sophomore guards Keaston Willis (11.4 pts and 4.1 reb) and Cobe Williams (9.2 pts, 3.3 reb, 3.6 ast) are active on both sides of the floor. Senior guard Exavian Christon does not fill the stat sheet like Archibald, Willis, and Wiliams, but the senor guard still averages 24-minutes per game.
La Tech enters the Don Haskins Center with an 11-3 record and their biggest win thus far was at Santa Clara (ranked 80th in Ken Pom). Their three losses came against the Wolfpack along with nationally ranked Alabama and LSU. Last week, they began C-USA play with home wins over Marshall (79-56) and Western Kentucky (74-73). The Bulldogs are currently ranked 78th in Ken Pom, third behind UAB (45) and North Texas (75). To put it into perspective, UTEP is ranked 177 according to Ken Pom, 6th best in C-USA. A win tomorrow night would certainly be a big one for the Miners as they prepare for their road trip this weekend against Southern Miss.