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LA Tech men surging, Techsters struggling

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RUSTON, La -

Courtesy: LA Tech Athletics

LA Tech Overpowers FIU for Sixth Straight Win

RUSTON – No Raheem Appleby. No problem.

Louisiana Tech used a monster 22-0 run in the first half and double-doubles from Michale Kyser and Jaron Johnson to overpower FIU, 85-51, on Saturday night in front of 4,236 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

The victory was the sixth straight for LA Tech (14-3, 2-0 C-USA) who needed someone off the bench to score in place of its leading scorer Appleby, and tonight that was Jaron Johnson.

"We were solid offensively and we did just enough," said head coach Michael White. "Jaron Johnson had a phenomenal game. Twenty offensive rebounds gave us a chance offensively and also we caused turnovers. Defensively I thought we were very good. Every night this team has to hang their hat on defensive effort, even with Raheem out."

The senior guard produced a career-night with 18 points and 11 rebounds which also included a few highlight reel dunks.

Kyser continued his progression as a key contributor on offense with 11 points. On the other end he was a defensive force as usual, registering 11 rebounds and three blocks.

"I hope that [his growth] continues and I always had faith that he could play at that level," said White. "Teams will be gunning for him. He is a talented guy who continues to progress and continues to gain maturity and confidence."

The 51 points was a season-low for FIU (9-8, 1-1 C-USA) who managed only 35 percent shooting from the field.

Chris Anderson and Alex Hamilton combined for 15 of the team's first 17 points as the Bulldogs had a slim four-point lead to start the contest.

The Bulldogs then went ice cold on offense with 10 straight missed field goals and three missed free throws, giving FIU the opportunity to take a 22-19 advantage.

Two made free throws from Kyser and then an old-fashioned three-point play by J. Johnson kick-started a 22-0 run that essentially put the game away.

The stifling defense of LA Tech forced 18 turnovers by the Panthers, the 12th time this season they have forced at least 15 and they are a perfect 12-0 in those games.

Hamilton ended the night with 16 points. Kenyon McNeail came off the bench to record 12 points and Anderson marked the fifth Bulldog in double-figures with 11.

For the game, the Bulldogs connected on 28-of-67 field goal attempts for 41.8 percent.

FIU was led by Tymell Murphy and Dennis Mavin who registered 13 and 12 points, respectively.

LA Tech hits the road to take on in-state and conference foe Tulane in New Orleans on Thursday, Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Cox Sports Television.

 

Middle Tennessee Downs LA Tech 68-51

RUSTON – Ebony Rowe scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Middle Tennessee capitalized on second chance points and Louisiana Tech turnovers to down the Lady Techsters 68-51 Saturday evening at the Thomas Assembly Center.

Middle Tennessee (13-3, 2-0 C-USA) pulled down 25 offensive rebounds which led to 25 second chance points and turned 20 Lady Techster turnovers into 26 more points in the Blue Raiders 12th straight win of the season.

Louisiana Tech (5-10, 0-2 C-USA) overcame its mistakes in the opening 20 minutes of play as the Lady Techsters entered the halftime locker room trailing only 26-25. However, Rowe scored six points in a 14-0 run by Middle Tennessee during the first four minutes of the second half as the Blue Raiders pushed their advantage to 40-25.

A Chrisstasia Walter free throw at the 15:23 mark snapped the run but the Lady Techsters were forced to play from behind the rest of the game. Middle Tennessee extended its lead to as many as 17 at 51-34 on a Caroline Warden layup with 9:29 to play in the game.

The Lady Techsters made a run, scoring 13 of the game's next 19 points as Brittney Jefferson's layup with 5:16 to play in the game cut the deficit to 57-47. The lead remained 10 at 59-49 on a Walter layup with 3:27 to play but Tech missed six of its final seven shots from the field as well as all three free throws as the Blue Raiders pulled away for the win.

In the opening 20 minutes of play, Tech held an early 4-3 lead before Middle Tennessee scored nine straight points. A Rowe layup after an offensive rebound with 11:51 to play in the first half gave MT a 12-4 advantage.

With both teams struggling from the field in the first half, the offensive rebounds by the Blue Raiders proved crucial as five of MT's nine first half field goals came on put-backs. Middle Tennessee led 26-19 after a pair of KeKe Stewart free throws with just under two minutes to play in the half, but Walter scored four straight points and freshman Kevione Moten added a pair of free throws with 3.8 seconds to play as the Lady Techsters trailed by only one at the break.

Walter led Tech with 15 points while Whitney Frazier added eight points and 14 rebounds. In addition to Rowe's double double, Stewart added 12 points and Olivia Jones added seven points and 10 rebounds.

For the game, Tech shot 34 percent (18-53) from the field, 2-of-13 from the three-point line and 13-of-19 from the free throw line. Middle Tennessee shot 36 percent (24-66) from the field, 3-of-20 from the three-point line and 17-of-28 from the free throw line.

The Blue Raiders won the battle of the boards 48-42.

Tech returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Houston to face the Rice Owls at 7 p.m.

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