Nov. 29, 2012
RUSTON -- Louisiana Tech (6-1) struggled mightily through much of the first half being down by as much as 22-8 to Southeastern Louisiana (1-4) with 6:22 still to play until halftime, but the Bulldogs stormed towards an unprecedented performance the rest of the way to dominate the Lions 99-62 Wednesday night in front of 2,357 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
"We just got off to such a bad start offensively and we looked like a deer in headlights," said head coach Michael White. "We missed some open shots early, we missed some point blank layups, missed a bunch of free throws and it was all of a sudden `boy how do we score,' but our defense was as consistent as it has been all year and it kept the game at least in reach for us and as we continued to pick up our defensive pressure, some turnovers turned into points which helped us get going."
The victory was the sixth straight for the Bulldogs and was the most points scored in regulation since LA Tech tallied 102 in defeating Harding on Nov. 20, 2001. It also marked the 23rd consecutive non-conference win in the TAC, but it was unconventional to say the least.
The Bulldogs scored three quick layups in the first two minutes of action, and then went ice cold from every spot on the floor, missing their next 15 shots which allowed SELU to go on a 20-2 run to build a 14-point lead.
A fast break dunk by guard Brandon Gibson off a steal would break the shooting drought and seemed to bring the crowd and the Bulldogs to life.
From there the offense would turn to their two shooting guards, Raheem Appleby and Cordarius Johnson, who would combine to score 13 points in the last five minutes of the first half to take a 30-28 lead into halftime.
The hot shooting spread throughout the entire team in the second half as the Bulldogs overpowered the Lions by going an incredible 75 percent from the field on 24-of-32 shooting.
The offensive outburst fed largely off the defensive pressure that forced 24 turnovers, the most this season, and tallied 37 points off of those possessions. Guard Kenneth Smith recorded six of the team's 16 steals, marking the second time this season he has been one short of tying the LA Tech record for most in a single game.
"We were very fortunate to have the lead at halftime, and then came out at the start of the second half and for 20 minutes, arguably, played as well as we have played all year," said White. "Southeastern [Louisiana] has always been very good with valuing the ball and our press was that good tonight, I thought, which allowed us to make plays in the open floor and get going offensively."
LA Tech registered three players in double figures by the end, led by Appleby who had a game-high 22 points. Johnson and Michale Kyser would contribute 15 and 10 points, respectively.
The Bulldog bench added 37 points, their largest output of the year, to put a stamp on an impressive win over a Lions team that had defeated coach White and Co. only a year ago in overtime.
"We had some subs come in the game and knock down some open threes for us so it turned out to be a fun night," said White. "We got a little bit better tonight."
Southeastern Louisiana was led by Dre Evans and Brandon Fortenberry who scored 19 and 10 points, respectively.
The `Dogs have little time to celebrate as they quickly hit the road to face Georgia State on Friday in Atlanta, Ga. at 6 p.m. CT.
For complete coverage of LA Tech Men's Basketball, please follow @LATechHoops on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at www.LATechSports.com.