Bulldogs Open WAC Season With 70-62 Win Over Tulsa
Updated Jan 3, 2004 22:13:06
Louisiana Tech's starters did nearly all of the damage against Tulsa Saturday as the Bulldogs rolled to a 70-62 win in the Western Athletic Conference season opener for both teams at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The win pushed the Bulldogs to 7-4 overall and 1-0 in the WAC while Tulsa fell to 4-6 and 0-1.
Tech's starting five accounted for 68 of the team's 70 total points with reserve guard Bruce Edwards' two free throws with three seconds remaining serving as all of the Bulldogs' bench scoring.
Wayne Powell, Donell Allick and Corey Dean scored 16 points each to lead the Bulldogs, with Powell tying his career scoring high and setting a new career high in rebounds with 12 for his first career double-double.
Tech freshman forward Paul Millsap added 13 points and 14 points for his team-high seventh double-double of the season.
"That was a real slug fest," Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard said. "To me, it was our best game of the season. It's a big week for us. We have our only three-game home stand until the end of the season and now we've won the first two, and this one was our first conference game. This is a big win for this team."
The Bulldogs connected on only 23.3 percent (7-30) of its shots in the first half and 38.2 percent of their total field goal attempts (21-55). But Tech did win the battle of the boards 44-35, and also forced more turnovers (19) than the committed for the first time this season.
"Hopefully this will be a huge lift for this team," Richard said. "We needed it. It hasn't been an easy road so far for a young team. We're not going to be a pretty team all of the time, or even very often. It might get kind of ugly, but we'll take ugly wins."
The Bulldogs held Tulsa to a 36.8 shooting percentage (21-57) and managed to pick up the win even with the Golden Hurricane sinking nine 3-point shots on 20 attempts. The Bulldogs countered with five treys on 14 attempts.
"It was a real possession game," Richard said. "We thought we'd have to give one of our best defensive efforts of the season to get the win, and except for the last seven minutes when we got a little sloppy, I think we did just that."
Tech trailed 30-25 at the half, but Richard convinced his team the baskets would start falling if they continued working hard.
"We were getting the ball we wanted it in the first half, but we were just missing easy shots," Richard said. "At the half I told the team that if they'd buckle down on defense, the offense would come."
Powell said desire played a big role in the Bulldogs turning things up a notch to pick up the win over Tulsa.
"It's just a real big win for us," Powell said. "We played hard and followed our scouting reports. It comes down to wanting to win the WAC championship. We want to win conference and you have to win games like this to do that."
Seneca Collins led Tulsa with 17 points hiwle Jarius Glenn added 12 for the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa guard Jason Parker came into the contest leading his squad with 17.4 points per game but was held to 11 points by the Bulldogs.
"We're proud of our defensive effort," Allick said. "We want to keep up this kind of defensive play throughout the conference season. It made a big difference tonight,"
Tech returns to action on Monday when the Bulldogs play host to Rice in WAC action starting at 7 p.m. in the TAC.