Bulldog Defense Carries Team to 66-55 Exhibition Win
Nov. 2, 2012
RUSTON - The Louisiana Tech men's basketball team leaned on their stifling defense to defeat Southern Arkansas 66-55 Friday night in the Thomas Assembly Center in the team's final exhibition before the regular season begins.
Both teams got off to sluggish offensive starts with the Bulldogs reaching the double digit score first after over 11 minutes of action had passed. LA Tech would increase their lead by as much as 16 in both halves with the pesky Muleriders never able to take the lead as the `Dogs went wire-to-wire for the win.
"Offensively, we've really struggled two exhibition games in a row," said head coach Michael White. "We are taking great shots and getting good looks, we are just not making shots that we're making in practice."
The defense continued its havoc as they pressured the ball from baseline to baseline and in the paint where sophomore forward Michale Kyser had an impressive evening of eight points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots in just 20 minutes of play.
"We played with a lot of energy," said White. "Our presses were pretty solid. We applied a lot of pressure and didn't give up much. We had some good block outs. It was a pretty good showing on that side of the ball."
The offensive stats were eerily similar to the last exhibition for the Bulldogs where they had plenty of open looks, but the shots would not go down as the Bulldogs went 3-for-20 from the behind the arc for the second time.
Johnson had a stretch of eight consecutive points followed by McNeail who drained the team's only three three-pointers to lead the team with 14 points each.
"For our bench, to have guys come in and step up like Kenyon McNeail and Jaron Johnson, both of those guys played really well," said White. "To have a veteran like [Kenyon], who has been around the block, to step up and get his confidence going was good. I was happy for him and we needed it at the time."
Southern Arkansas's Darrin Johnson paved the way for the Muleriders with a game-high 16 points, the only player in double figures for the opposition. Twelve of his 16 points came from three-point range.
LA Tech will now set their sights on the regular season opener in College Station, Texas against Texas A&M on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. to be televised on FSN. The Aggies hold the all-time series lead 3-2.
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