Jan. 20, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech had three players come off the bench to score in double digits Saturday night as the Bulldogs outlasted Seattle 78-71 in the Thomas Assembly Center in front of a season high crowd of 3,974.
The LA Tech (16-3, 7-0 WAC) bench ended up scoring 60 of the total points to extend the team's winning streak to eight games and keep the `Dogs atop the conference standings.
"[Seattle] jumped all over us in terms of their aggression offensively versus our press," said head coach Michael White. "They stayed on the attack for the first 20 minutes and offensively gave us problems with their changing defenses. I thought that they were very good and we were fortunate to squeak one out."
As was the case this past Thursday night against Idaho, the Bulldogs came out sluggish on offense and Seattle (6-11, 1-6 WAC) capitalized on three early steals to open up an 11-2 lead.
After a turnaround jumper by Cordarius Johnson cut into the Redhawks lead, 19-14, with 13:19 still to play in the first half, the Bulldogs went 0-of-8 from the field and turned the ball over seven times over the course of the next 10 minutes.
Eleven straight points came from the charity stripe for LA Tech which carried over into a 15-2 run in the final 5:41, sparked largely by J.L. Lewis and his defensive effort. The Redhawks went into halftime with a 35-33 advantage.
"I thought J.L. Lewis was terrific," said White. "He did a ton of things that didn't show up on the stat sheet. He really through his body around and took some charges. He's such a good communicator defensively. He directs traffic and I thought he really pushed our energy level, especially on that end."
The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the game right out of the break as Jaron Johnson drilled his third three-pointer of the night, giving him a new career-high 15 points to go along with his career-high eight rebounds.
The lead changed hands numerous times over the next 15 minutes of play as the fouls escalated for both clubs.
LA Tech's struggles from the field (21-58), especially from beyond the arc (6-of-26), continued throughout but both were made up for with crucial free throw shooting as they went 30-of-40 from the line.
"Shooting 75 percent and shooting 40 free throws is a huge positive for us," said White. "Anytime you can shoot 40 free throws in a game, it tells you that you are attacking the basket and you are being aggressive, and we were much more so in the second half."
Down the stretch, LA Tech pushed their lead out to 70-62 with 2:17 remaining before Seattle responded with back-to-back three-pointers by Jarell Flora to cut it to within two.
The clutch shooting from the foul line in the final minute, particularly from Alex Hamilton who made four straight to go 8-for-8 on the night, sealed the 12th straight home win for the `Dogs.
The defensive pressure, which only seems to get better towards the end of games, was another huge factor for the `Dogs as they forced 24 turnovers.
Seattle was led by Clarence Trent who led all scorers with 19 points. Prince Obasi added 11 assists to lead all players.
Louisiana Tech's next action comes Thursday, Jan. 24 against San Jose State as the Bulldogs travel to San Jose, Calif. to take on the Spartans in a 9 p.m. CT tipoff.
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