Bulldogs Win Overtime Thriller over 49ers
Feb. 19, 2015
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - After a game-tying layup by Kenneth Smith sent the game into overtime, Louisiana Tech found itself playing an extra five minutes for the first time this season whereas Charlotte was doing so for the sixth time.
Despite the 4,078 fans in Halton Arena cheering on the 49ers, the Bulldogs got a game-high 29 points from Alex Hamilton and the team made their last four free throw attempts to come away with the thrilling victory, 83-82, on Thursday night.
"We were very fortunate to win the game," head coach Michael White said. "There were a few things that we could have done better. I thought Charlotte was terrific. Those guys have faced real adversity all year. For them to be playing as hard as they are playing and execute the way they are executing and then to turn us over 16 times with incredible energy defensively in the full court, I thought was really impressive. I thought they were fantastic. We beat a really good team."
LA Tech (21-6, 12-2 C-USA) had as much as an eight point lead early in the second half, but Charlotte (11-15, 4-9 C-USA) slowly battled back and had a 73-71 advantage with 13.5 seconds left to go in the game.
After the Bulldogs used their final timeout, Smith broke the full court pressure of the 49ers and took it all the way to the basket for the game-tying layup. UNCC missed on its game-winning attempt, sending the contest into the extra period.
"We could not get the ball to Alex so we threw it into Raheem who tipped it to Speedy and when he had his defender behind him in the open floor it was all bets off," White said. "He is just terrific at making those split-second decisions and he stepped up and made a huge basket for us."
In overtime, it only took LA Tech six seconds to score the first basket which was a running floater off the glass by Raheem Appleby. After a free throw by Charlotte's Mike Thorne Jr., Hamilton connected on back-to-back layups to give the `Dogs a five-point lead with three minutes to go.
After surrendering a hook shot by Thorne Jr., the `Dogs held on to the three-point lead by getting three defensive stops in the half court. The 49ers were eventually forced to foul Speedy with 10 seconds left.
Speedy calmly sank both free throws. Charlotte quickly hit one of its nine three-pointers of the game to slice it down to two, but another all-conference guard Appleby hit both of his free throws to seal the victory.
It was the first overtime game since Dec. 30, 2013 when LA Tech won at Oklahoma.
The 49ers overcame an early eight-point deficit to tie it up at, 22-22, but then Hamilton started to get hot. The junior scored the Bulldogs last 11 points of the first half to give them a 33-29 edge at halftime.
"Alex is very talented with the basketball in his hands and he seems to thrive more in these types of games against extended defenses whether they are half court or full court," White said. "When Alex has a defender really close to him and he is able to get a head of steam, he has a unique ability to use either hand and use his body. He is a big, strong guard who is a terrific playmaker."
LA Tech finished the game 16-of-17 from the foul line and won the battle of the boards with a 44-36 advantage. The 44 rebounds and the +8 rebounding margin were both season highs.
Michale Kyser, playing through foul trouble for much of the game, recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 rebounds to go along with three steals.
Charlotte had five players in double figures, led by Braxton Ogbueze with 16 points.
LA Tech finishes up its regular season road schedule on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Old Dominion. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CT with the broadcast set for American Sports Network.
For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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