Dec. 1, 2013
JACKSON, Miss. - Alex Hamilton came up big on offense with a game-high 24 points and on defense with three steals to lead Louisiana Tech to its sixth straight win, a 72-61 victory over Jackson State on Sunday night inside the Lee E. Williams AAC.
Jackson State (2-6) pulled to within three points four minutes into the second half, but LA Tech (6-1) pulled away by using a 16-0 run and holding the Tigers scoreless for almost eight minutes of action.
"We were able to sweat one out late versus a very solid, hard-nosed Jackson State team who has had a very good year thus far," said head coach Michael White. "Additionally, they are even better at home.
"I thought we rebounded the ball really well. We defended [Julysses] Nobles well enough to give ourselves a chance. I thought we had some guys come off the bench and really help us in areas. We have been on the road for a while and are really looking forward to getting back in the TAC."
However, JSU managed to keep the game at a slow, low-scoring pace early in the contest with its 2-3 zone.
The score was 12-11 in favor of the Bulldogs nine minutes into the first half before they went on a 9-0 run, capped by a Kenyon McNeail three. The guards were able to swing the ball around the arc to beat the zone and get it to the hot-shooting senior.
LA Tech took its largest lead of the half, 35-24, with a drive down the baseline for the reverse layup from Cordarius Johnson.
Holding for the final shot with a double-digit lead, a Bulldog turnover turned into a three-point play converted by JSU's Julysses Nobles just before the buzzer sounded. At the break, LA Tech held a 36-29 advantage.
The Tigers only had eight made field goals in the first stanza, but kept it within striking distance with their free throw shooting, making 11-of-12.
On the other end of the floor, it was Hamilton who was leading the team with a team-high 12 points.
LA Tech extended its lead to eight points twice early in the second half, but a 5-0 run by JSU pulled the Tigers to within three, 41-38.
McNeail then quickly came off the bench to drain an NBA-range three to make it 44-38 Bulldogs.
Two free throws by Gilbert Talbot and a driving layup through traffic by Hamilton gave the `Dogs another double-digit lead, 48-38.
"[Alex] is getting in better shape," said white. "He is starting to understand that defense is what is going to help him get more minutes, and we all know what he can do offensively, not only with his ability to score the ball but distributing the ball. He is just a talented player and a great teammate."
A rejection by Talbot on the defense end turned into a coast-to-coast run by Appleby who made the off-balanced shot and then the ensuing free throw for the three-point play.
The run extended to 16-0 after McNeail hit his fourth three of the game, making it 57-38 Tech.
There was no quit in the Tigers though. JSU put together an 11-1 run late, but two big offensive rebounds and tip-ins by Talbot and Anderson in the final minute sealed the victory.
As a team, the Bulldogs shot 26-of-56 for 46.4 percent from the field. McNeail and Appleby chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
JSU was led by Nobles who recorded a team-high 17 points. The Tigers' Brandon West notched his fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 13 boards.
LA Tech returns to Ruston for a three-game home stand, beginning with a matchup versus UL-Lafayette on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
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