No. 25 Louisiana Tech beats Utah State 84-61

  • Article by: DAVID BRANDT
  • Associated Press
  • February 28, 2013 - 9:36 PM

RUSTON, La. - Brandon Gibson scored 20 points, Raheem Appleby added 15 and No. 25 Louisiana Tech cruised to an 84-61 victory over Utah State on Thursday night in its first game as a nationally ranked team since 1985.

Louisiana Tech (25-3, 15-0 Western Athletic Conference) never left anything in doubt, taking a 15-2 lead in the opening minutes on the way to a 49-23 halftime advantage. It was a surprisingly lopsided game considering the Bulldogs beat Utah State (19-8, 9-6) 51-48 in Logan, Utah, on Jan. 26.

Louisiana Tech used its constant full-court press and deep bench to frustrate the Aggies. The Bulldogs are on a 17-game winning streak that has lasted more than two months.

Jarred Shaw and Ben Clifford both scored 14 points for Utah State. TeNale Roland added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Gibson made 8 of 11 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 from 3-point range, to lead a potent Louisiana Tech bench. The Bulldogs' bench outscored the starters 49-35.

Just about everyone was making shots. The Bulldogs cooled off late, but still shot 31 of 62 (50 percent) from the field, including 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) from 3-point range.

Louisiana Tech jumped into the Top 25 on Monday for the first time in nearly 28 years. The Bulldogs enjoyed a 13-week run in the national rankings while former Utah Jazz star Karl Malone was dominating the Southland Conference on the way to a run to the NCAA round of 16 during 1984-85.

Utah State was Louisiana Tech's first Division I opponent in nearly two weeks and the Bulldogs looked fresh, using their full-court press to frustrate the Aggies early. A few turnovers were all the Bulldogs needed to build an early advantage — especially since almost all of their shots were falling.

Louisiana Tech shot 20 of 35 (57.9 percent) in the first half. Gibson led the Bulldogs with 12 points off the bench.

The Aggies have lost two of their past three.

Louisiana Tech ranks fifth in the nation in turnover margin and forced 15 turnovers over Thursday while giving up only six.

Utah State has managed a decent season despite rampant injuries. The Aggies came into the season with three returning starters — Danny Berger, Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed — but none of them played Thursday because of various medical issues.

Without them, the Aggies were simply outmanned. They shot just 20 of 56 (35.7 percent) from the field, including 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range.


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