Not only was the weather hot in southwest Florida, the three-point shooting was as well for Louisiana Tech as the Bulldogs drained 14 three's en route to a 99-62 opening round win versus UNCG in the Gulf Coast Showcase on Monday evening inside the Germain Arena.
Seven different Bulldogs hit shots from behind the arc, including Alex Hamilton who knocked down three of them en route to a career-high 26 points.
With the victory, LA Tech (3-1) advances to face the winner of San Diego and Illinois-Chicago to be played on Tuesday at 5 p.m. CT.
"[Our turnovers] was probably the only negative," said head coach Michael White. "Other than that we played as well as we have played this year and probably as well as we played late last year. I thought our press was really good. I thought we really passed the ball well and got some interior touches which allowed open shots."
UNCG (3-2) built a six-point lead, 11-5, three minutes into the contest, but then it started raining three-pointers for the Bulldogs.
Chris Anderson got it going with a three from the wing on the next possession, followed by back-to-back three's from Jaron Johnson and Kenyon McNeail which pulled the ‘Dogs to within one, 15-14.
Hamilton drove it down the lane and laid it off the glass, giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 16-15, with 11:50 left in the first half.
The Spartans cut the lead down to two, 28-26, with a three of their own from Nicholas Paulos, but then the Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run started by a slam dunk by Hamilton off a steal. The LA Tech defense forced four turnovers during the run.
Anderson finished the half with consecutive baskets, one of which was a tip-in with just two seconds before the buzzer signaled the end of the first half, giving the ‘Dogs a 48-33 edge at the break.
Hamilton then got in on the three-point action, draining one from the top of the arc, forcing a timeout by the Spartans with LA Tech ahead, 59-41.
The sophomore from Chipley, Fla. continued to amaze in his home state, scoring eight straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers, to stretch the lead out to 76-47, with 10:53 still to go in the game.
You knew it was one of those great shooting days when Jaron Johnson attempted an alley-oop throw to Cordarius Johnson which banked in for the 14th and final three of the game.
For the game, LA Tech shot an astounding 63 percent from the field, but even more important the Bulldog defense forced 19 turnovers and outrebounded the Spartans 36-23. UNCG came into the game with a rebounding margin of plus-15.
"We are not going to make shots every night," said White. "It is not a constant we can count on every night. We can control how well we rebound the ball and I was proud of our effort on the glass."
Anderson tied a career-high with 18 points. Cordarius Johnson (11), Jaron Johnson (10) and McNeail (15) joined him in double figures.
Wednesday, August 20 2014 11:13 PM EDT2014-08-21 03:13:36 GMT
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