Nov. 19, 2012
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Guard Raheem Appleby scored a season-high 21 points and forward Michale Kyser held strong on the defensive end with a career-high eight rebounds and five blocks as the Louisiana Tech (3-1) men's basketball team outlasted Southeast Missouri State (3-2) to win 67-63 at the McKenzie Arena.
The Bulldogs have now won three straight since dropping their season opener to Texas A&M and will go for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic three-game sweep tomorrow evening as they take on the host team Chattanooga.
"It feels good to grind one out when you didn't necessarily play great, but the part of us not playing great had a lot to do with SEMO," said head coach Michael White. "Their matchup zone is pretty good and confused us at times. We settled in and hit a couple of late shots to secure a victory."
LA Tech took their largest lead of the first half at the 7:07 mark after Appleby knocked down two free throws, but SEMO responded and took the lead into halftime 32-31 as guard A.J. Jones nailed a three-pointer with two seconds remaining.
Against Troy the day before, the Bulldog defense came out of the locker room at halftime and held the Trojans scoreless until the 14:45 mark. This evening against the Redhawks, the Kyser-led defense held SEMO scoreless until the 14:35 mark after LA Tech had built their first double-digit lead of the game.
"I thought we let up a little bit defensively in the last 10 minutes when we got a six or eight-point lead, but the first five minutes out of the gate in the second half was really impressive like last night," said White. "I credit that a lot to the pressure of our guards and the protection of the middle by Mr. Kyser. Michale was tremendous blocking shots at the rim tonight. Brandon [Gibson], Cordarius [Johnson], Jaron Johnson and Chris Anderson, they were all throwing their bodies around as well to help us defensive rebound in the paint."
Appleby would score six of his 21 points following the made three by Smith and LA Tech would make 4-of-6 from the free throw line to capture the victory.
Forward Tyler Stone led the Redhawks with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Forward Nino Johnson also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Tomorrow's contest versus the Mocs can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network, KXKZ 107.5 FM - Ruston and KJVC 92.7 FM - Mansfield.
"It is our ultimate goal to win a championship in March and to win three in three days has definitely been the temporary goal as of the last couple of weeks," added White. "This is what we have been striving for. We will be ready. We will be focused. Tomorrow is going to be fun."
For complete coverage of LA Tech men's basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter where you can get live in-game updates or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.