Louisiana Tech Wins WAC Opener 77-71 over Nevada

Jamel Guyton scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs in scoring.
 
Jamel Guyton scored 21 points to lead the Bulldogs in scoring.
 

Jan. 2, 2010

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RUSTON, La. - Senior Jamel Guyton `s 21 points led five Bulldogs in Louisiana Tech's 77-71 win over Nevada on Saturday.

The win is the first over Nevada at home since 2002. It also gives the Bulldogs a six-game win streak, its longest since the 2002-03 season.

Louisiana Tech improved to 13-2 overall and 1-0 in the Western Athletic Conference and Nevada fell to 8-6 overall and 0-1 in the WAC.

"We were very fortunate to win," said head coach Kerry Rupp. "It was a hard fought win. I thought it was key to get free throws down the stretch. Once you get a lead, you have to protect the lead and we did that. It was a good win and we have to build on that as we continue in conference."

Guyton was 7-of-14 from the field and converted 6-of-7 free throws for his third 20-plus point game of the season.

Sophomore Olu Ashaolu recorded his seventh double-double and second in as many games with 14 points and 12 rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting. Senior Magnum Rolle scored 11 points and had three blocks while battling foul trouble.

Tech opened the game with a 12-2 lead five minutes in with eight of those points in the paint. Rolle picked up his second foul of the half and spent the remainder of the period on the bench. Nevada answered with a 12-3 run to tie the game at 14-14. The lead changed four times as Tech went into the half with a 32-27 lead. Both teams shot 40 percent from the field.

Off a lay-up and free throw made by Nevada's Luke Babbit, the Wolf Pack grabbed a 43-40 lead and moments later, Babbit drained a three-pointer for a 46-43 lead with 12 minutes remaining. He finished the game with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

A Gibson three-pointer gave Tech a 57-52 lead with just under six minutes remaining. Rolle hit a turnaround jump shot to give the Bulldogs a 63-57 lead. On the following Nevada possession, Rolle swatted a layup attempt by Armon Johnson. Rolle finished the fast break on the other end with a thunderous two-handed dunk to give Tech a 65-57 lead with 1:50 to go.

The two teams traded buckets down the stretch and with the Wolf Pack fouling in the final minute, the Bulldogs hit enough free throws to secure the six point lead and opened conference play with a win for the second consecutive season. Tech was 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) and Nevada was 18-of-28 (64.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

The physicality of the second half sent three Nevada players over the foul limit and Ashaolu picked up five fouls for Tech.

Gibson had 17 points and seven rebounds and junior DeAndre Brown scored 12 points and had three rebounds and four assists.

LA Tech will next host Utah State on Monday at 7 p.m.