San Jose State vs Louisiana Tech

No. 25 Louisiana Tech 88, San Jose St. 61 wire reports

RUSTON, La. -- The college basketball world is beginning to take notice of a little team in North Louisiana.

Raheem Appleby scored 16 points and No. 25 Louisiana Tech extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games Saturday night, clinching at least a share of its first Western Athletic Conference championship with an 88-61 victory over San Jose State.

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"It was good to be able to send our seniors out with a win like that," Bulldogs coach Michael White said. "It was also good to accomplish one of our preseason goals that we started the season with and that was to finish undefeated at home. Winning a conference championship or at least a share of it was something that we set out to do for months. It's exciting, but there is still a lot left to play for over the next week."

Alex Hamilton and Jaron Johnson added 13 points apiece for the Bulldogs (26-3, 16-0 WAC), who can wrap up the outright regular-season title Thursday night with a win at New Mexico State.

It is the first conference crown for Louisiana Tech since its 1999 Sun Belt championship.

"I expected we would compete for an NCAA bid, but I didn't expect it to come this quickly," said Tech guard Brandon Gibson, who had 12 points. "Coach White pushes us so hard and you would never think kids who just got together with this coach two years ago would be doing something as special as this."

In only his second season as a head coach, White acknowledged that the program is ahead of where he expected it to be at this point.

"To be honest, I do feel like we are a little ahead of schedule," he said. "This summer preparing for the season, we thought we could compete for a conference championship. We thought we could be in the thick of things. Did I think we would be 16-0 in WAC play? No I didn't. I thought we would have to catch some breaks and I thought that the stars would have to align. So far that has happened for us. We just have to keep going and working hard."

Xavier Jones led San Jose State (9-18, 3-13) with 14 points, while D.J. Brown and Chris Cunningham each had 10.

The Spartans shot only 32 percent (17 for 53), including 5 of 17 from 3-point range.

"These guys have won a lot of games in a row and deservedly so. They really go after the ball hard. We had too many turnovers in the first half and allowed them to build their lead. (They had) 24 points off turnovers and that is just too many," San Jose State coach George Nessman said. "We need to be stronger with the ball. I understand Louisiana Tech is a good pressure team, but regardless of that we still have to handle the ball strong. We didn't do a good enough job of that, particularly in the first half."

Louisiana Tech hit seven 3-pointers in the first half and used a 16-4 run to go ahead 29-12 en route to a 45-26 halftime lead. The Bulldogs held San Jose State to 33 percent shooting from the field in the opening 20 minutes and forced 12 turnovers.

"That's always the mindset, especially when you are at home," White said. "You want to get your crowd involved in the game. Turnovers are always a big factor with us and they were again tonight. We had some guys make some plays, and our pressure defense was pretty good. It was a good team win that required contributions from a lot of guys."

Riding their sharp shooting from long range, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-2 lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Gibson and Appleby.

Louisiana Tech finished 10 for 29 from beyond the arc.

"They seem, to me, to not be as concerned about balance, as they want their guys playing at a certain tempo and wanting their shots going up," Nessman said. "That encourages a certain pace game. It works for them because they are able to get almost every team in our league into a tempo game and boy, are they hard to beat in a tempo game. That is a hard situation for any team and it certainly was a hard situation for us."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
San Jose State (9-18)263561
Louisiana Tech #25 (26-3) «454388
SJST:X. Jones 14 Pts
SJST:C. Cunningham 7 Reb
SJST:X. Jones 2 Ast
LATECH:R. Appleby 16 Pts
LATECH:C. Johnson 9 Reb
LATECH:K. Smith 9 Ast

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San Jose StateLouisiana Tech
Xavier Jones
Alex Hamilton
San Jose State Spartans
D. Brown, G393-103-421110
X. Jones, G315-163-452314
C. Cunningham, F291-18-1070410
L. Garrett, F282-94-42049
L. Pennington, G274-110-23109
S. Smith, F191-34-55146
A. Moor, G120-00-04140
D. Andoh, F90-10-01010
N. Grieves, G31-20-00003
M. VanKirk, F20-00-00000
J. Williams, F10-00-01000
J. Kinney, GDid Not Play
C. Jones, GDid Not Play
A. Brown, CDid Not Play
Totals 17-5322-293062161
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
C. Johnson, G254-90-09028
R. Appleby, G254-145-601116
K. Smith, G231-20-05922
J. Lewis, F-C213-50-06027
B. Gibson, G203-84-421512
A. Hamilton, G174-55-1152213
J. Johnson, G155-51-232113
I. Massey, F130-00-03220
C. Anderson, F131-52-22144
K. McNeail, G122-61-23007
M. Kyser, F91-30-01002
S. Gjuroski, F30-00-00000
G. Talbot, F-C31-11-20013
D. Johnson, G10-01-20001
J. Wilkerson, GDid Not Play
Totals 29-6320-3139182288
Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Colorado St.13-524-1266
Boise St.12-620-1272
Fresno St.11-720-1376
New Mexico10-817-1486
San Diego St9-919-1498
San Jose St.7-1114-16191
Utah St.7-1114-17181
Air Force4-1412-21251

Conference USA
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Middle Tenn.17-131-535
La. Tech14-423-10117
Old Dominion12-619-12136
Western Ky.9-915-17226
UT-San Antonio8-1014-19264
So. Miss6-129-22331
North Texas2-168-22339
Other games
BAMA 52 Final
FLA 64
LOU 58 Final
SYR 53
BUTL 52 Final
VCU 84
MEMP 76 Final
UCF 67
WVU 65 Final
KAN 91
ND 64 Final
MU 72
STL 66 Final
GW 58
TEXAS 65 Final
WYO 42 Final
PORT 52 Final
MIAMI 76 Final
KSU 64 Final
IOWA 60 Final
IND 73
RUT 51 Final
ARIZ 69 Final