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January 6, 2013

BTB HD: Tech Comes Back to Beat UT Arlington

ARLINGTON, Texas - Louisiana Tech used a 10-0 run with less than two and a half minutes remaining in the game to overcome a seven-point deficit and take the dramatic 55-52 come-from-behind win over UT Arlington Saturday night at the College Park Center.

The Bulldogs fourth straight win moved them to 12-3 on the season and kept them perfect in WAC play. LA Tech is now 3-0 to start the conference for only the third time since joining the WAC in 2001. UT Arlington dropped their third straight game and fell to 6-6 on the season and 1-2 in conference.

"The shots weren't falling for us tonight and part of that is UT Arlington and how effective they are defensively," said head coach Michael White. "To grind one out against a good team on the road is very good."

LA Tech opened the contest with an alley-oop dunk by forward Michale Kyser, but that would be the only lead the Bulldogs would have in the first half as they struggled mightily to shoot the basketball in this period, going just 9-of-26 from the field.

The guards missed six straight three-pointers to start the contest before guard Kenyon McNeaill came off the bench to sink the first one of the night for the 'Dogs.

After pulling back even with the Mavericks at 23-23 with 1:54 remaining in the first stanza, UT Arlington closed out the period with two made free throws and then a three-pointer by guard Jamel Outler with two seconds left to put the Bulldogs behind 28-23 at the break.

Twenty-three points was the fewest scored by the 'Dogs this season.

The Mavericks opened up the second half on a 6-0 run to go up by 11 before forward Chris Anderson stopped the bleeding with a lay-up at the 15:10 mark, the Bulldogs first basket of the half.

LA Tech got to within four after guard Raheem Appleby's jumper before UT Arlington went on another 6-0 run to push their lead back out to double-digits again.

Head coach Michael White subbed in five at a time throughout the second stanza, and the Bulldog defense remained fresh and amped up their pressure to force turnover after turnover to generate more offense.

Over a three-minute stretch, LA Tech forced four turnovers and held UTA scoreless. As a result, the 'Dogs would take their first lead of the game since the opening minute on a made free throw by guard Cordarius Johnson, 45-44, with 6:30 still to play in the game.

The Mavs responded with a 7-0 run to push their lead to 52-45 with 2:35 to go.

Guard Alex Hamilton then made six of his team-leading 14 points to help the 'Dogs retake the lead 53-52 with 46 seconds remaining. A defensive stop gave the 'Dogs possession and guard Kenneth Smith held the ball until getting fouled on a jumper with 6 seconds on the clock.

"It was a hectic time and it was very emotional because we just couldn't seem to get anything going and then boom, all of a sudden, before you know it, we find ourselves up one with the ball," said White. "We spread the ball out and got the ball into Speedy's hands and he made a really heads-up play [to draw the foul]."

Smith sank both free throws that gave the Bulldogs a three-point edge. UT Arlington pushed the ball up the floor after a called timeout and had a long-range three hit off the front of the rim as the clock struck zero.

"In any league in college basketball throughout the country [it's hard to win on the road], and especially against a team like this who is defending the way they are," said White. "They'd lost two straight home games and they played with tons of energy. We didn't necessarily play great but we grinded one out. It should give us some confidence going forward."

The Bulldogs shot just 28 percent for the entire game and were only 3-of-22 from beyond the arc, but forced 23 turnovers. The pressuring defense also registered 14 steals and nine blocks.

UT Arlington was led in scoring by Outler with 12 points. Forward Brandon Edwards chipped in with seven points and a game-high 15 rebounds.



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