Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications
Bulldogs 77, FIU 76 (OT)
Louisiana Tech put an end to its six-game losing streak, and the Bulldogs needed an extra five minutes to do it, outlasting FIU in overtime by a final score of 77-76 on Thursday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
With the turnovers mounting, LA Tech (14-16, 7-12 C-USA) found itself down 16 early in the second half. But, the Bulldogs got scrappy and started taking care of the basketball, ultimately pulling it out in what was their fifth OT game of the season.
“The first half was just like the other first halves lately,” said Tech head caoch Talvin Hester. “But, in the second half we started scrapping. I felt like we lost the last game to FIU by not getting on the floor, getting loose balls. We dominated the glass this time, limiting them to their second-chance opportunities. When we stopped turning the ball over and started getting scrappy, the game took a turn for the better for us.”
The ‘Dogs coughed the ball up 13 times in the first half, which FIU (13-17, 7-12 C-USA) gladly turned into 19 points to help them build a 42-28 halftime advantage.
Facing a fourth straight double-digit deficit midway through the game, LA Tech clawed its way back. This time, the Bulldogs were not only able to even it up but take the lead. And it was Isaiah Crawford putting his team on his back offensively, scoring 12 of their 16 points during a four-minute stretch.
“Isaiah Crawford started being tough and aggressive in the second half,” said Hester. “He started finishing around the rim, even through contact. When he is playing like that he is a hard guard. And when he fouled out, Jordan Crawford pulled the team together and said, ‘We are not losing.’ He rallied the team up, giving positive energy. The team was disappointed they did not get the stop at the end of regulation. We fought and scrapped in overtime and pulled it out.”
His lone three-pointer of the game got the ‘Dogs to within three at 50-53. Then his assist to Keaston Willis who swished a triple of his own knotted the game up at 53-all with 9:50 to go. Willis hit a couple more from deep, one of which gave LA Tech its largest lead at 65-60 with 3:47 remaining.
The Bulldogs only managed two more points in regulation, which gave the Panthers the opening to tie things at 67-67 on a second-chance layup by Dashon Gittens. Not having Crawford on the floor also helped the visiting team as LA Tech’s leading scorer fouled out late in the stanza.
Even without Crawford though, LA Tech refused to back down in overtime. FIU got a pair of three-pointers by Petar Krivokapic, who was hot all night with seven total from long range, but the Bulldogs did their damage at the free throw line and got a couple of tough layups at the rim – one by Willis high off the glass and another on an offensive putback by Kenny Hunter.
With the home team up one with three seconds remaining, the Panthers got the rebound after a second straight miss at the free throw line by Willis. But, Arturo Dean’s three-point heave at the buzzer clanked off the rim.
After 13 first-half turnovers, LA Tech only committed eight the remaining 25 minutes of the game. They also clamped down on FIU defensively, allowing them to make just nine field goals after halftime.
Five Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Willis with 18. Isaiah and Jordan Crawford added 16 and 14 points while Hunter recorded his second straight double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Dravon Mangum had 10.
Krivokapic led all scorers with 25 while Denver Jones, the league’s top scorer in conference play, had 19.
Lady Techsters 69, FIU 63
Louisiana Tech women’s basketball improved to 9-2 following a loss this season with a bounce-back 69-62 win over FIU in Miami, Fla.
Keiunna Walker scored a game-high 18 points, surpassing 1,900 points for her career, and added a team-high six rebounds. Salma Bates Bates scored 13 points and added two assists, reaching 100 on the season.
“I thought we defended really well for three quarters then lost our defensive intensity and fouled too much in the fourth,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We got up 15 and found a rhythm and then got away from what got us up to that point. We left a lot of points out there from the line and there are things we can look at tonight where we’d want to be better, but it’s still a tough road win in conference. Give lots of credit to FIU. They played really hard and are playing for seeding in the tournament. They have been good at home this year and we knew it would be tough.”
LA Tech got off to one of their slower starts to the conference season, starting just 2-10 from the floor coupled with six turnovers which led to an FIU 8-0 run to give the Panthers a 14-8 lead after one.
In the second, Tech settled in and found some rhythm on the offensive end while holding FIU to nine second-quarter points. Tech broke loose off back-to-back threes from Lotte Sant and Gabbie Green that aided a Techsters’ 11-2 run to grab their first lead of the game (21-10) with 4:07 left in the half. LA Tech added a 12-3 run, capped by two Sant free throws, just before the break to take a 31-23 lead at the half.
An 11-2 third-quarter run by LA Tech gave the Techsters their largest lead of the game at 15 (44-29) thanks to back-to-back threes from Green. However, FIU was able to shave two points off the lead over the final five minutes of the period to give Tech a 51-38 lead after three.
FIU continued to battle through the final stanza cutting the lead to single digits at 60-51 with a 4:22 remaining. An ensuing 8-1 run by the Panthers cut the lead even further to five, 61-56, while Tech went the final 7:36 of the final stanza without a field goal. However, Tech hit 14 three throws in the fourth to keep FIU at a distance to win conference game No. 11 on the season, matching last year’s total.
Tech held FIU to 36 percent from the floor while shooting 47 percent. Both teams hit seven threes, and Tech had a plus-nine advantage from the free-throw line.
Louisiana Tech gets set to play its third straight home weekend series as they host Northwestern in a three-game slate at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
The two teams meet tonight at 6 p.m. followed by a Saturday 2 p.m. contest and a Sunday 12 p.m. game. All three games can be seen on CUSATV with a paid subscription and can be heard on the LA Tech Athletics App.
LA Tech is coming off a two-game split with Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi. The Bulldogs overcame a four-run deficit in game one to defeat the reigning national champions and 4th-ranked Rebels, 6-5. It was the program’s first road win over a top-5 opponent since 2004.
The Bulldogs were on the verge of sweeping the Rebels, up 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning in game two, but the contest went into a weather delay and was ultimately called off. As a result, the score reverted to the last completed inning, which was the sixth when Ole Miss was leading, 4-3.
Northwestern enters the weekend still winless, having been swept in a three-game series at Texas State and then dropping three straight games in the Carolinas to Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian, and USC Upstate.
Lady Techster Softball
Fresh of a 5-3 win over Central Arkansas, the Lady Techsters will host a three-team round robin tournament Saturday and Sunday at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.
Tech (10-5) will play host to Houston Christian (formerly Houston Baptist University) and UMass-Lowell as the three teams will each face off twice over the course of the two days.
Saturday’s schedule includes LA Tech vs. Houston Christian at 10 a.m. and LA Tech vs. UMass-Lowell at 12:30 p.m. UMass-Lowell and Houston Christian will play at 3 p.m.
Sunday’s schedule includes UMass-Lowell and Houston Christian at 10 a.m. followed by LA Tech vs UMass-Lowell at 12:30 p.m and LA Tech vs. Houston Christian at 3 p.m.
All LA Tech games can be seen with a paid subscription to CUSATV.