Nov. 6, 2011
RUSTON, La. – Junior Brandon Gibson’s (Marianna, Fla.) tip-in with 2.4 seconds to play lifted Louisiana Tech to a 72-71 exhibition win over Texas A&M-Kingsville Sunday afternoon at the Thomas Assembly Center.
“I will take the W but our performance was far from good,” said head coach Michael White. “Our kids continued to fight and found a way to win.”
Gibson’s late-game heroics came off a miss on a short jumper by freshman Isaiah Massey (McDonough, Ga.) from an inbound pass and capped a come-from-behind victory as the Bulldogs – who led for the majority of the second half – overcame a late 69-65 deficit for the win.
“We had a couple of seconds on the in-bound play and usually it is not your first attempt but your second or third that is your best look,” White said. “Brandon did a good job of getting himself into good offensive rebounding position to get the tip-in.”
Trailing 71-70 the Bulldogs picked up a defensive stop as Antonio Banks misfired on a three-pointer and Massey corralled the loose basketball and called a timeout with 25 seconds to play. After being unable to get a good look at the basket, Tech called another timeout with six seconds to play, setting up the final play.
Tech built as much as a seven-point lead on four separate occasions in the second half, the final time coming at 58-51 on a pair of free throws from senior Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta, Ga.) with 8:18 to play. However, Texas A&M-Kingsville used an 18-7 run to grab its largest lead of the final stanza at 69-65.
Tech won despite shooting only 5-of-31 from the three-point line for the game, including 0-of-17 in an opening 20 minutes of play that saw Texas A&M-Kingsville take a 32-31 lead into the halftime locker room.
Texas A&M-Kingsville jumped out to an early 6-2 lead before sophomore Cordarius Johnson (Coushatta, La.) scored five points in a 9-0 Bulldog run that saw Tech lead 11-6 with 14:14 to play in the opening half. The two teams traded leads throughout an opening 20 minutes that saw nine ties and six lead changes.
The Bulldogs were solid at the free throw line in the win, hitting 21-of-27 from the charity stripe, including 10-of-10 in the second half.
For the game, Tech hit 35 percent (23-66) from the field while Texas A&M-Kingsville shot 45 percent (24-53). The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 41-36, including pulling down 19 offensive boards.
Robert Williams led Texas A&M-Kingsville with 20 points while Derryl Nash added 12 and Marshall Bonds 10.
Tech opens its regular season Nov. 13 when it hosts Mississippi College at 3 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.