LA Tech falls in overtime at USM, 73-71
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Louisiana Tech was able to force overtime on the road against one of the hottest teams in Conference USA in Southern Miss, but the Bulldogs came up short falling 73-71 to the Golden Eagles on Saturday afternoon inside Reed Green Coliseum.
LA Tech (15-10, 5-7 C-USA) overcame a four-point deficit with less than two minutes to go in regulation to send it to OT at 62-62. The 12th tie of the game came at 66-66 with 1:38 left in the extra frame, but then Southern Miss (15-9, 7-5 C-USA) went on a 7-2 run.
It was a wild last two seconds though as Jacolby Pemberton hit his third three-pointer to slice the deficit down to two. Then the Golden Eagles stepped out of bounds on the ensuing play, giving the ‘Dogs one last chance for the tie or the win but they came up empty.
“I thought we competed really hard,” said head coach Eric Konkol. “I thought Southern Miss did as well. They are the most experienced team in our league and have been playing good basketball. And they did again today.
“I thought we put ourselves in a position to win with the way we defended. I thought we stayed focus on one possession at a time even when mistakes were made and there was some adversity. Just could not come up with enough plays.”
DaQuan Bracey scored the last eight points for LA Tech, including two three-pointers, at the end of the first period with the Bulldogs trailing by only one at 27-26.
The Golden Eagles went on a 9-0 run to extend their lead to 38-32 with 15:18 remaining, but the ‘Dogs countered with a 10-0 run which included back-to-back three-pointers by Anthony Duruji and Amorie Archibald that forced a USM timeout.
LA Tech held a four-point lead at that point, 42-38, but then Southern Miss hit a timely triple. And that ended up being the theme of the night as they hit more timely three-pointers in the closing minutes when the score was 53-53 and also when they were up one at 56-55.
Their biggest three ended up coming in OT with LaDavius Draine hitting his fourth from beyond the arc with 32 seconds left to put the Golden Eagles up by four.
LA Tech’s defense kept them in the game, primarily when it came to forcing turnovers. They ended up forcing 16 turnovers against one of the top teams in the entire country in fewest turnovers committed. The Bulldogs scored 16 points off those turnovers.
“I thought defensively we did some really nice things,” Konkol said. “Southern Miss really stretches you and grinds you. That tested our defense. And they are a very good three-point shooting team and I thought that was what really hurt us in the second half and overtime.”
Four Bulldogs ended up in double-figure scoring, led by Pemberton who had 17 to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Archibald and Bracey each had 13 and Duruji added 12.
Draine led the way for the Golden Eagles with a game-high 22 points off the bench.
After a three-game road stretch, LA Tech returns home on Thursday, Feb. 14 to take on the UTEP Miners. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on beIN Sports.
For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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