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LA Tech Falls at Southern Miss - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

LA Tech Falls at Southern Miss

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Hattiesburg, MS -

Courtesy: LA Tech Athletics

Coming into Reed Green Coliseum, a place where Louisiana Tech's historic 2012-13 season came to end, the Bulldogs knew it had to shoot better against the vaunted Southern Miss zone.

LA Tech did that, connecting on 45 percent from the field and nine three-pointers, but USM repeated its dominance inside with 46 paint points that helped give the home Golden Eagles an 80-71 win on Sunday.

After consecutive games of pulling down at least 50 rebounds, the Bulldogs were out rebounded 48-26 and 19-5 on offensive rebounds.

The Golden Eagles were able to take those extra possessions and turn them into 22 second chance points whereas the ‘Dogs only had six.

"We have changed for the positive on the interior," said head coach Michael White. "We have become a much better rebounding team. We have scored it more efficiently offensively, and defensively, we have really protected the rim and defended the glass all year. It was the biggest key tonight unfortunately.

"We weren't quite as good in those areas, but that is easy to say against a team who specializes in beating you up on the interior and playing with the utmost physicality. They were tremendous on the offensive glass and they were good at scoring it on the interior as well."

Cordarius Johnson gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 12-10, with his second three of the game at the 16:29 mark.

LA Tech (15-4, 3-1 C-USA) stretched its lead out to five before USM (16-3, 3-1 C-USA) went on a 14-2 run to reclaim the edge, 27-20, with 8:06 to go.

Aside from a made floater by Alex Hamilton, the Bulldogs came up empty on offense for seven minutes, including three front end misses on one-on-one free throw opportunities.

It was the exact opposite for the Golden Eagles who converted on 8-of-8 from the charity stripe to build their largest lead of the contest, 41-27, including two for a technical foul called on coach White.

The made free throws totaled 19 for the home team in the first half, but the Bulldogs found their shooting stroke from beyond the arc late as Kenneth Smith and Alex Hamilton nailed three combined to cut the deficit going into halftime, down 47-39.

LA Tech claws its way bit by bit in the second stanza and it was Hamilton who was taking charge. He made two hard drives to the basket for layups, then picked the pocket of the USM's Deonte Houston at midcourt and was fouled on the ensuing field goal attempt at the goal.

His two made free throws gave the ‘Dogs their first lead of the game, 59-58 with 11:16 to play, in almost 20 minutes of action.

The lead would be short-lived though as USM put together a 12-3 run to extend its advantage back out to nine, a run that was started on an offensive rebound and then a kick out to Neil Watson for a three, only the second one on the day for the Golden Eagles.

LA Tech had four players in double-figures, led by Hamilton who knocked in 19. C. Johnson came off the bench to register 14.

Smith turned in a solid performance as well with 12 points to go along with nine assists.

USM was led by Daveon Boardingham with 20 points.

LA Tech returns home to face Charlotte on Thursday, Jan. 23 inside the Thomas Assembly Center. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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