BATON ROUGE -- Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard knew his team had some work to do.

Friday's 84-63 season-opening loss to Louisiana gave him specifics.

"It's probably terrible to say this right off, but they're way more talented than we are,'' Richard said. "They were quicker to the ball, and got all the long rebounds. It was a little bit overwhelming.''

The balanced Cajuns had five players in double figures, led by 20 points from Tiras Wade, and shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-59) in the opening game of LSU's Louisiana Classic at the Maravich Assembly Center.

Just as effective was UL's all-court defense led by its large backcourt.

"They had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half,'' Richard said, "and we had 9 turnovers that led to points for them. Those offensive rebounds and turnovers were back-breakers. In the second half, we did a little better job of rebounding, but we still had 12 more turnovers.

"We couldn't get inside 10 points. They've got two SEC guards (ex-Florida starter Orien Greene and former Auburn player Dwayne Mitchell), and they were taller than us.

"We have some liabilities as a team that were not exposed in practice because they don't see athletes like this, and it really showed. In that aspect, it's good.''

Tech shot 14-of-26 in the first half, yet still trailed by 14 points (47-33) at the break. Then, despite outrebounding ULL 25-14 after intermission, the Bulldogs hit just 13-of-33 second-half attempts.

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By Bruce Brown
Louisiana Sports Bureau