Posted Mar 13, 2003 18:31:38
Bulldogs Rally Falls Short In WAC Quarterfinal
TULSA, Okla. -- A furious Louisiana Tech rally fell short in the waning minutes as Nevada downed the Bulldogs 72-66 Thursday in quarterfinal play of the Williams Western Athletic Conference Tournament at the Donald W. Reynolds center.
The loss ended Tech's season at 12-15 overall and 9-9 in the WAC while Nevada
(17-12, 11-7) will move on to play Southern Methodist in semifinal play on Friday at 6 p.m.
After trailing by as many as 18 points with 14:56 remaining in the game, the
Bulldogs battled back to cut the Wolf Pack advantage to eight on an Antonio Meeking layup with 4:32 left to make the score 63-55.
But that's as close as the Bulldogs would get until Michael Wilder's 3-pointer with one second remaining cut the final margin to six points.
"I thought it was our best effort in a month," Louisiana Tech Keith Richard said. "It was a winning effort in a game we just didn't win."
Lavelle Felton topped Tech with 19 points while Meeking added 12 points and 11
rebounds while hitting on 5-of-23 shots from the floor.
"Over the past month you've seen teams double and triple teaming Antonio," Richard said. "Tonight Nevada gambled and let him have it. They just happened to get us on the only night this season he hasn't made those plays at the bucket."
Tech opened with a 4-0 lead as Meeking's reverse layp and inside jumper accounted for all scoring over the opening 2:59. The Bulldogs moved out to a four-point lead twice in the opening five minutes and led until Nevada moved out in front at 10-8 with 12:51 left in the first half.
Nevada would lead the rest of the way as the Wolf Pack led 34-26 at the half. Nevada coach Trent Johnson was pleased with his team's play until the Bulldogs began battling back in the final 10 minutes.
"I thought we played a pretty good 30 minutes," Johnson said. "We caused a lot of problems with Lavelle Felton and Antonio Meeking. I thought we really defended. We had a sense of urgency in terms of defending and taking care of the ball and playing together."
Nevada stormed out in the second half as the Wolf Pack outscored the Bulldogs 14-6 over the initial 7:52 of the period to build a 15-point advantage with 12:10 remaining. The Wolf Pack's biggest lead was a 20-point advantage at 55-35 with 11:00 remaining.
The Bulldogs struggled after intermission, connecting on only 2-of-11 shots from the floor in the first nine minutes of the half.
Meeking was disappointed with his effort despite turning in his eighth double-double of the season and the 24th of his career. Meeking came into the contest leading the Bulldogs with 18.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
"It was just one of those nights where I couldn't make it," Meeking said. "I had the same shots I had all year, but they were just not dropping."
Kirk Snyder led Nevada with 25 points and 11 rebounds while Terrance Green chipped in with 12 points for the Wolf Pack.
Eric Woods was only other Bulldog reaching double-digit scoring figures with 11 points while Wayne Powell added nine.
The Bulldogs outshot Nevada 39.7 percent to 39.3 percent, with Tech hitting on
25-of-63 shots from the floor while the Wolf Pack made good on 22-of-56 attempts. But the Bulldogs just couldn't convert on the big shots when they needed them.
"This is the only time this year I can remember Antonio getting that many touches and shots and not shooting a very good percentage," Richard said. "I'm not blaming Antonio for the loss. If we had to play again I would throw him the ball 50 times. It was our only chance to win. Antonio had a rough night of making shots and making plays. To me, that was the story of the whole game."