Updated Nov 25, 2003 22:11:22
Second-Half Surge Powers Bulldogs Past Jackson State, 77-63
The game itself might not have been pretty, but Louisiana Tech's 200th win in the Thomas Assembly Center was a thing of beauty for Bulldogs coach Keith
Louisiana Tech used a second-half surge to power past Jackson State 77-63 Tuesday before a home-opening crowd of 2,134 at the TAC.
"We're not always going to be pretty, but this team has grit," Richard said. "They showed a lot of toughness out there."
The Bulldogs struggled in the first 15 minutes before heating up late in the opening half to take a 33-31 lead at intermission. Many coaches might have been concerned with a team that had hit on 35.7 percent of its shots from the floor (10-of-28) in the first half, but Richard felt his Bulldogs could learn from their struggles.
"I'm proud of this victory," Richard said. "I told the team at the half that it was close and that was good for us. Anytime you step out on the floor you can get beat. I wanted to see if we would show a backbone after that ugly first half. Every day is a learning experience for a team this young, and we learned today that we can be tough."
The Bulldogs heated up in the second half, outscoring JSU 44-32 and hitting on 58.6 percent of their shots after intermission.
"We started making plays around the bucket in the second half," Richard said. "In the first half we were making silly turnovers and not making easy shots. That turned around for us in the second half. We started rebounding and hitting some threes in transition."
Tech had five players score in double figures, led by true freshman Paul Millsap's first career double-double. Millsap hin of 5-of-5 shots from the floor and hit on 5-of-6 free throws to total 15 points along with 10 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
Wayne Powell scored 13 of his 14 points in the second half for the Bulldogs while Donell Allick also turned in a career-first double-double for Tech as the junior college transfer hit for 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Corey Dean added 11 points for Tech while Barry Thompson chupped in with 10 along with five rebounds.
But it was junior guard Bruce Edwards' 8-point, 4-assist performance that caught Richard's attention.
"We did a great job of sharing ball, and I thought Bruce Edwards was the player of the game for us," Richard said. "Not only because of his scoring but because of the energy he brought to the game. He made a couple of big steals and defensive rebounds that really picked the team up."
Tech maintained a slight lead throughout a sluggish first half that saw the Bulldogs lead 15-8 with 5:52 remaining before intermission. Both teams turned in up in the final five minutes of the first half, with Jackson State even taking a 29-26 lead on an Ismael Joyce 3-pointer with 1:53 left in the stanza.
JSU tied the game at 31-31 with 1:01 left in the opening half, but Allick and Dean each added a free throw in the final minute to give the Bulldogs the two-point halftime advantage.
Leonard Taylor scored 18 to lead Jackson State while Joyce added 16 points for the Tigers.
Louisiana Tech will return to the road next week to play a 7:05 p.m. contest next Tuesday at the University of Northern Iowa.