March 9, 2013
DENVER, Colo. - For the second straight game Louisiana Tech's opponent shot over 50 percent from the field, and for the second straight game the Bulldogs suffered a loss, this time a 78-54 defeat to the Denver Pioneers on Saturday night inside the Magness Arena.
Despite the loss, LA Tech (26-5, 15-2 WAC) concluded the regular season with a share of the WAC title along with Denver (21-8, 15-2 WAC), marking its first regular season championship since joining the league back in 2001.
The Pioneers' Brett Olson opened the contest with back-to-back three-pointers, immediately setting the tone and forcing a timeout by head coach Michael White.
The Bulldogs were down 21-15 with 10:08 left in the half after a layup by Cordarius Johnson, but DU closed out the remaining 10 minutes of the stanza on a 25-10 run to extend their lead to 46-25 on 68 percent shooting.
The 46 points was the most given up by the Bulldog defense in any half this season.
"[Denver] got off to a great start," said White. "We dug ourselves a hole with leaving Olson open a couple of times early. They really executed well. They made us pay when we over-pressured a couple of times with some backdoor cuts that led to easy baskets, and defensively, they were phenomenal as they have been all season."
The Pioneers opened the second half just like they did the first and that was with a three-pointer.
The defense of the `Dogs picked up in the second half, but the hot shooting by DU was too much to overcome as LA Tech was only able to pull to as close as 16.
"Continue to stress it," said White about getting their identity back. "Hopefully by taking a day or two off, we can rejuvenate mentally, get back to some basics and refocus on what has gotten us to 26 wins."
All five starters for the Pioneers scored in double-figures, led by Chris Udofia with 18 points.
Seeding for the conference tournament will come down to which team has the higher RPI in the official NCAA RPI set to be released either Saturday night or Sunday morning.
"We just went into two tough environments and played two very good teams on their home floor," said White. "We didn't expect to go 18-0 in the league. We don't need to beat ourselves up. Seven days ago we were the hottest team in college basketball so hopefully we can gain some level of confidence and mojo in the next week."
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