March 9, 2012
LAS VEGAS - Utah State's Preston Medlin failed to get a shot attempt off in the final four seconds of the game as Louisiana Tech hung on to beat the Aggies 72-70 Thursday night at the Orleans Arena in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
"It is great to win in the conference tournament and I'm excited for our guys," said head coach Michael White. "It makes it a little more special doing it against such a great program like Utah State. Our whole team effort was spearheaded by Trevor Gaskins as he did an unbelievable job out there tonight."
The Bulldogs improve to 17-15 on the year while Utah State falls to 17-15.
A three-pointer from freshman Raheem Appleby gave Tech their largest lead of the game 58-47 with 8:34 to play in the second half. The Aggies chipped away at the Bulldogs advantage and were able to pull within two with less than a minute to play.
Brokeith Pane went 1-for-2 at the free throw line with nine second on the clock to cut Tech's lead to 71-70. Senior Trevor Gaskins was fouled after catching the inbound pass making his first throw attempt but missing on his second with 4.1 seconds remaining.
Medlin took a pass from Kyisean Reed and drove up the court but Medlin was heavily guarded by Gaskins as time ran out before a shot was attempted.
After Utah State called a timeout, they responded with a 20-3 run over the next 5:25 that was ended by one of sophomore Cordarius Johnson's two three-point field goals.
Gibson tied the contest at 24-24 with his lone three-pointer of the contest a little over seven minutes until intermission.
With the Bulldogs down one, Gaskins made a three-point field goal at the 3:13 mark to give Tech a 30-28 lead, their first in over eight minutes. The Aggies scored the next five points of the game to go up by two with a little less than two and a half minutes until halftime.
Appleby made his only three-point attempt of the period and Johnson converted two free throw attempts as Tech took a 35-32 lead into intermission.
"Our whole team effort was spearheaded by Trevor Gaskins," White said. "He did an unbelievable job out there tonight."
Gaskins and Souza both scored a team-high 16 points while Appleby and Gibson added 13 points apiece.
Gibson and Souza each grabbed a game-best seven rebounds. Gaskins dished out five assists with freshman Kenneth Smith handing out four assists as well.
The Bulldogs shot 52.9 percent (27-51) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-17) on three-point attempts while blocking two shots and creating five steals defensively.
Danny Berger scored a game-high 17 points while Brockeith Pane and Ben Clifford chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Clifford also pulled down a team-best six rebounds as Berger had three steals.
Medlin, Utah State's leading scorer, was held to just six points on 1-of-7 shooting but did dish out a game-high eight assists. In his previous three games, Medlin was averaging around 26 points per game.
The Aggies went 22-for-48 (45.8 percent) from the field including four three-pointers. At the charity stripe they made 81.5 percent (22-27) of the shots.
Louisiana Tech plays Nevada, the regular season champion, Friday night at 10:30 p.m. CT at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in the WAC Tournament semifinals as the Bulldogs will be attempting to make the finals of the WAC Tournament for the first-time ever.
Dave Nitz, "The Voice of the Bulldogs" and Malcolm Butler will call the action on KXKZ 107.5 FM and KJVC 92.7 FM beginning with the pregame show at 10 p.m. CT. The contest will also be televised on the WAC Sports Network.