Dec. 30, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - Louisiana Tech came into Monday's night game winless in eight tries versus Oklahoma, two of which went into overtime.
One was the last time the two teams met in 2001. The other was the unforgettable Sweet Sixteen matchup in 1985.
It was only fitting that the ninth meeting went into overtime as well but this time the victory went to the Bulldogs as they upset the Sooners, 102-98, inside Lloyd Noble Center.
LA Tech (11-3) nearly had the game won in regulation, but a desperation three by OU's Cameron Clark beat the buzzer and sent the game into overtime.
The Bulldogs went down by four, 95-91, with 1:46 to play but solid defense and clutch free throw shooting propelled the team on a 7-1 run to go up 98-96.
Appleby calmly sank both free throws to seal the upset win for the `Dogs, handing OU their first home loss of the year.
Hamilton had a subpar first half, committing five turnovers with only three points. However in the second half the sophomore played possessed, getting to the rim at will to notch a career-high 31 points.
"He was phenomenal," said head coach Michael White on Hamilton's performance. "He couldn't find a rhythm in the first half, but in the second half he put us on his back and just made a ton of plays offensively. He has great playmaking skills and he was able to get to the paint a lot and convert a lot, draw fouls.
"It was a good win for our program against a really solid team, an extremely well coached team in a somewhat hostile environment. This is a physically tough group. I am proud of our mental toughness which was off the charts tonight."
Appleby finished with 22 and Cordarius Johnson came off the bench to score 17, including a career-tying five three-pointers.
OU jumped out to a 15-2 lead before C. Johnson came off the bench to score eight straight for the Bulldogs, including back-to-back three-pointers from the right wing.
Too many uncharacteristic turnovers by LA Tech allowed the Sooners to build a 37-23 lead. Then the team did a complete 180 as the `Dogs played as good a seven minute stretch as you can to close the half on a 16-2 to run to have it tied at the break, 39-39.
"I think more than anything we just settled in offensively," said White about the first half comeback. "We had some looks at the basket and from beyond the arc early, but they did not fall. I thought it made us a little tentative offensively.
"We just simply made a couple of shots, converting from three which allowed us to create our press and create a couple of turnovers. Then it became a competitive game."
The Bulldogs took their first lead of the game, 45-44, on a 15-foot jumper by Chris Anderson on an out-of-bounds play, but OU responded with an 8-0 run.
Two made free throws by Kenneth Smith with nine seconds left in regulation gave the Bulldogs an 85-82 advantage before the game-tying three.
LA Tech then went 13-of-14 from the charity stripe in overtime, finishing 28-of-35 (80 percent) for the game.
Oklahoma was led by Clark who recorded a team-high 26 points. Ryan Spangler recorded a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
Up next for LA Tech is the last nonconference game of the season. The Bulldogs take on the Longwood Lancers on Saturday, Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
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