Bulldogs Take Down Demons, 99-88
Dec. 2, 2014
NATCHITOCHES, La. - With the way Louisiana Tech and Northwestern State have played against each other the past five years, it was no surprise that the sixth time was any different.
The prolific guards on both teams was on display once again, but one notable difference was the foul trouble of Kenneth Smith who missed over 10 minutes of action in the second half.
It was then that the Bulldogs turned to Alex Hamilton at the point and rode his back to the tune of 30 points to take down the Demons, 99-88, on Tuesday night in Prather Coliseum.
"It was incredible guard play from both sides," head coach Michael White said about the game. "It was a bunch of guys on the court that no one could guard and no one could defend. Neither team got into a very good defensive rhythm, but both teams were unbelievable offensively.
"I am really proud of the poise that we displayed to overcome some adversity with Speedy being on the bench a bunch and us not getting into a defensive rhythm."
With the score being tied 15-15 midway through the first half, LA Tech (6-1) took the lead and was able to extend to it as much as 12 points with mini-runs, but NSU (3-4) was going nowhere behind its guard play.
Jalan West and Zeek Woodley combined for 55 points and scratched and clawed to get to within three, 79-76, after West hit a fade away three from the corner.
Then with 6:14 to go in the game coach White put Speedy back into the game after exiting with 17:13 to go when he picked up back-to-back fouls in the span of 15 seconds to give him four for the contest.
No worries though because he picked up exactly where he left off.
He had back-to-back lobs for slams to make NSU's zone defense pay and then hit a dagger three-pointer, his first points of the game, with the shot clock winding down to seal the fifth straight victory and the first time the road team has won in the series since it was renewed in 2009.
"Physically it had something to do with it, but probably more emotionally in terms of getting our guys some confidence that the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year is back on the floor," White said on Speedy's return to the game. "I thought our guys made a couple of good adjustments where we started running at the basketball.
"We started doing whatever we could to get it out of Jalan West's hands and Zeek Woodley's hands. Then I thought the rest of our guys took ownership in really communicating and rotating to open guys that helped us get stops."
Speedy finished with 10 assists and four steals and was as much of an emotional lift on defense as he was offense with LA Tech able to get the crucial stops down the stretch.
As much as the astounding guards were in the spotlight, Michale Kyser played perhaps the biggest role late on defense in getting two key blocks at the rim. The senior forward ended the night with 16 points and 13 rebounds to go along with five rejections.
Converting from the free throw line was a key for the Bulldogs to maintain a lead throughout much of the contest, going 25-of-33 with 11 of those makes by Hamilton, and taking care of the basketball with only eight turnovers after having 21 against Samford.
Almost as impressive as Hamilton's 30 points was the fact that he had zero turnovers while playing 37 minutes in the game with the large chunk at the point position.
LA Tech returns home on Saturday, Dec. 6 to face Jackson State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
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