March 18, 2010

Louisiana Tech Beats Southern Miss

Box Score

RUSTON, La. - After trailing by 11 early, Louisiana Tech battled back to beat Southern Miss in the first round of the CIT Thursday at the Thomas Assembly Center.

With its top two scorers out due to injury, it was going to take a special kind of effort from the Bulldogs to beat the Golden Eagles, and that's exactly what was done.

"It's really a matter of bringing energy defensively and blocking out," Tech head coach Kerry Rupp said. "Then we had to have the mentality of `nothing is going to be easy, let's grind it out a little bit,' and I thought for the most part the guys did a really good job. I'm really proud of them."

With the win Tech improved to 24-10 and will play at Missouri State on Monday at 7 p.m. Southern Miss ended their season 20-14.

"We felt like we stayed with the game plan, even though we were down early," Rupp said. "Even after halftime we stayed with it and got better defensively."

Tech was led by sophomore Olu Ashaolu who recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.

"I thought Olu was good and I thought Darius did a nice job," Rupp said. "Defensively I thought all of our guys were good."

Freshman Darius Redding scored a season-high 13 points and six rebounds. His 33 minutes of play, nearly doubled his previous high of 17. Senior Jamel Guyton added 15 on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.

Tech fell behind 16-5 early on, but slowly mounted a comeback. At the end of the half, freshman Tevin Hall, stole a pass from USM's Angelo Johnson and converted a fast break layup at the buzzer to go into halftime tied at 30-30.

In the second half, Tech trailed 35-33 at the 18:07 mark, but that was the last time the Bulldogs would trail in the game. Tech used a 21-6 run to jet out in front, 54-41, its largest lead of the game, with nine minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs shot their best percentage from the field in 16 games at 56 percent (28-50) including 65.2 percent shooting in the second half. They held the Golden Eagles to 35.9 percent shooting (23-64).

Tech won despite being outrebounded 40-33 and allowing more turnovers (14-11). They did however, score over half of their points in the paint with 39 to USM's 20.

Missouri State beat Middle Tennessee State to advance to the second round of the CIT.

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