LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It was a homecoming for guard Raheem Appleby, a native of nearby Jacksonville, Ark., as he had a team-high 17 points to lead Louisiana Tech (9-3) to a nail-biting 75-73 win over UALR (8-5) on Monday night at the Jack Stephens Center.
The rematch from a victory earlier in the season in Ruston went to the Bulldogs, this time in Little Rock, snapping UALR’s seven-game home winning streak this year. LA Tech’s last win at the Trojans came in overtime in January of 2001.
The Bulldogs quickly took a 16-7 lead after an offensive rebound and put-back layup by guard Cordarius Johnson to force a Trojans timeout.
UALR would respond and take their first lead of the contest, 26-24, and would keep the lead going into halftime at 42-39.
LA Tech shot 44 percent from the field in the first half, but went cold from there only shooting 27 percent in the second half. However, it was at the free throw line that the Bulldogs regained the upper hand, going 20-of-25 from the charity strike.
Guard Kenyon McNeail converted two free throws, then drained a three-pointer from the corner to give the Bulldogs a 72-69 lead with 2:17 to go in the game.
Stout defense by the Bulldogs withheld the Trojans from tying the game on a last-second, desperation jumper after a missed UALR free throw to take the victory.
Guard Alex Hamilton chipped in 14 points despite fouling out midway through the second half.
Guards John Gillon and Leroy Isler led the Trojans with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
LA Tech wrapped up non-conference play with the win and will go into Christmas break with their next contest coming on Dec. 29 at home against Denver at 7 p.m.