Appleby's Buzzer Beater Downs Demons

Sophomore Cordarius Johnson had a career-high in points and rebounds against the Demons
 
Sophomore Cordarius Johnson had a career-high in points and rebounds against the Demons
 

Dec. 6, 2011

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RUSTON, La. - Freshman guard Raheem Appleby (Jacksonville, Ark.) nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer in the second overtime to give the Louisiana Tech men's basketball team (4-4) a 94-93 victory over intrastate rival Northwestern State (4-5) Tuesday night at the Thomas Assembly Center.

"This was a very entertaining game to watch from a fans' stand point but a very hard contest to coach for Mike McConathy and myself," said head coach Michael White. "Neither team was able to get into a defensive rhythm but both were unbelievable from three-point range."

This was the 12th double overtime contest in Tech history and first since Dec. 12, 2009 at Centenary (W, 102-96).

The Bulldogs began the game with an early 2-0 lead after a layup from sophomore guard Cordarius Johnson (Coushatta, La.). For the next 3:00, the Demons went on an 11-0 run before a layup from junior forward J.L. Lewis (Gonzales, La.) ended Tech's scoreless streak.

A layup from senior forward Romario Souza (Mias Gerias, Brazil) put the Bulldogs up 19-18 with 8:21 left in the first half before NSU took the lead back for the rest of the period, going up by as many as nine, 30-21, with 5:38 left.

Tech went into halftime down 40-32 after a tip-in from the Demons with 13 seconds left in the half.

The second half started with NSU taking their biggest lead of the game 43-32 after a three-pointer at the 19:48 mark on the opening possession.

Freshman forward Michale Kyser (Lancaster, Texas) put the Bulldogs up 55-54 for their first lead of the half with 13:03 remaining. The Demons responded with an 11-3 run over the next 2:37 to go up by seven.

Fighting back, Tech took their largest lead of regulation at the 4:42 mark as senior guard Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta, Ga.) hit a three-pointer for a 73-70 advantage.

After falling behind by one with 2:07 left, Johnson hit a three-point basket to put Tech up 76-74 on the next possession. NSU tied the game up with 22 second remaining after going 1-for-2 from the free throw line.

Gaskins had an opportunity to win the game in regulation but his floater in the lane was off the mark as the contest went to overtime.

The Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the game, 80-76, after freshman guard Kenneth Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Johnson both made two free throws in the first minute of action.

After the Demons took a two point advantage with 45 seconds remaining in the first overtime, Gaskins hit a three-pointer and Appleby made a free throw to put Tech up by two, 86-84.

A layup from NSU tied the game back up at 86-86 with seven seconds left in the period. Smith was able to get an offensive rebound off a missed three-pointer from Appleby but was unable to get his shot off in time as the buzzer sounded to send the game to a second overtime.

The Demons took control of the second extra period, going up by four with 55 seconds left on a layup. Johnson responded with a layup of his own on Tech's next possession to cut the deficit to 93-91.

Two missed free throws from NSU with 13 second remaining gave the Bulldogs one last chance as Souza missed a layup with just over three second left on the clock. The ball was tipped around and knocked out by Souza to Appleby, who hit the game-winning shot with no time remaining on the clock for the win.

Johnson led the Bulldogs with career-high 23 points, going 4-for-8 from three-point range as five Tech players reached double-digits. Gaskins added 19 points while shooting 5-for-8 from beyond the arc while Appleby made three of his five three-point attempts and scored 17 points.

Souza scored 16 points, the most for him in a Tech uniform, while Lewis recorded 10 points for his third straight game of scoring 10 or more points.

"Lewis and Souza are the two most improved players on the team since the preseason," White said. "I give a lot of credit to them and my staff, especially Derrick Jones who works with the post guys every day in practice."

Falling one assist shy of his first career double-double was Smith who had a career-best nine assists and 10 rebounds to pace the Bulldogs in both categories while Johnson grabbed nine boards to fall one short of his first ever double-double.

"Speedy [Smith] is a great passer who has an unbelievable motor, is able to see things before they happen and his numbers will go up as we get better offensively," said White.

For the game, Tech shot 47 percent (33-70) from the field and made 13 three-pointers, the fourth most in the TAC's history and the most by the program since hitting 13 at TCU on Dec. 23, 1999, on 25 shots (52%).

The Bulldogs grabbed 47 rebounds compared to the Demons 35 and was credited with 23 assists to NSU's 13.

Shamir Davis scored 28 points and William Mosley had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds and blocked six shots to pace the Demons. Louis Ellis (15), James Hulbin (10), Demetrice Jacobs (13) and Gary Roberso (11) all reached double-digits in scoring for NSU.

The Demons shot 50 percent (12-24) from three-point range and 46 percent (31-68) from the field while they only made 19-of-35 (54.3%) from the free throw line.

Louisiana Tech returns to action Saturday night as they travel to face Southern Miss of Conference USA for a 7 p.m. tip-off.