Game #9-522: Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners vs. Louisiana Tech BulldogsMarch 14, 2013 9:00 pm
Las Vegas, NV
The third game of Thursday matched top seed and regular season co-champion Louisiana Tech with the Roadrunners of the University of Texas at San Antonio. Louisiana Tech (26-5, 16-2 WAC) had won both season contests with UTSA (8-21, 3-14 WAC): in mid-January, the Bulldogs won 73-71 in San Antonio; the return match in Ruston a couple of weeks later also went to Tech, 74-49. (Yes, UTSA's record is correct: the Roadrunners only played seventeen WAC games, as their penultimate contest at San Jose State was cancelled because of unsafe playing conditions caused by a roof leak at the San Jose Event Center.)
The lead-up to the tournament was a bit rocky for the Bulldogs, whose nation-leading eighteen-game win streak had ended with two road losses the week before, first at New Mexico State
, and then at Denver, bringing the Pioneers into a tie for the regular season title. For the Roadrunners, their regular season ended losing seven of their final ten, winning at Texas State and in their BracketBusters matchup with former Southland Conference mate Nicholls State, before upsetting Idaho in San Antonio. UTSA's final two games before the tournament were losses to Seattle and at Utah State. They got to the quarterfinals with a Tuesday 67-49 win over San Jose State
The first twelve minutes of the first half went much as you might have expected. Louisiana Tech won the opening tip and got the first score, a short Chris Anderson jumper. After UTSA briefly took a 5-2 lead, Tech slowly reacquired the lead and added to it gradually with balance among their several good shooters. A 5-0 run between the under-12 and under-8 media timeouts built the Bulldog lead to eight, 21-13. Before the next media timeout, UTSA scored ten straight points on superhoops from Hyjii Thomas and Kannon Burrage, briefly taking a two-point lead. (Every team should have a shooting guard named Kannon.) The Bulldogs got two superhoops from Kenneth Smith in the final four minutes; they outscored UTSA retaking the halftime lead at 31-29.
Smith had ten points to lead the first half scoring; Raheem Appleby added five points and Michale Kyser had four points and four rebounds in the period. For UTSA, Burrage led with nine points, Jeromie Hill had six points; they each had four rebounds for the Roadrunners, who led on the boards 23-17. The 'Runners outshot the Bulldogs in the half, 39% to 35%.
The second half started with a superhoop by Burrage. The lead changed hands several times over the first several minutes, with the teams tied at thirty-six and forty-one. All but four of the UTSA points in the first eight minutes were scored by Burrage and point guard Michael Hale III. Burrage's second and third superhoops of the half led the UTSA 11-3 run giving them an eight point lead at the under-12 media timeout. Hale's toughness seemed to inspire his teammates: at one point in the run Tech's Brandon Gibson swatted the 5'9" Hale to the floor as he attempted a dunk; Hale got up, dusted himself off, and made the first free throw. He did not stop driving to the hoop, heading there several more times in the game. Burrage's fourth superhoop of the half gave UTSA a 62-50 lead; Smith's response cut the margin to nine with four minutes to go.
Louisiana Tech tried a full-court trapping defense for the rest of the game; Jordan Sims' and-one with about three minutes to play stretched the lead back to ten, and was the last UTSA field goal of the contest. Cordarius Johnson and Appleby each made superhoops for Tech in the final three minutes; Kyser and Kenyon McNeail each added a basket and a free throw. Tech, like Denver in the game before, sent the underdog to the line several times in the final few minutes of the game. UTSA, like Texas State in the earlier game, made a bunch of them (9-11). Burrage made a pair making the UTSA total 73, before Appleby's final triple got the Bulldogs to 67. UTSA would advance, and the top two seeds had been eliminated from the tournament. Leading the way for Louisiana Tech were Smith with sixteen points and Appleby with twelve. Kyser had nine points and eight rebounds in the game. UTSA's Burrage ended with twenty-six points as the game's leading scorer and got thirteen rebounds. Hale added seventeen points and Hill scored eleven for the Roadrunners. Louisiana Tech, like Denver, would take their WAC regular season co-championship to the NIT; the Bulldogs will leave the WAC for Conference USA next season. UTSA advances to a WAC semifinal against the winner of the day's final game between fourth-seeded Texas-Arlington and fifth-seeded Utah State.
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO 73, LOUISIANA TECH 67
TEXAS-SAN ANTONIO 10-21 (3-14) -- M. Hale III 7-18 2-2 17; K. Burrage 8-15 5-6 26; J. Hill 3-8 5-9 11; J. Sims 3-7 1-1 8; E. McGregor 0-0 2-2 2; L. Wilkins 2-4 0-0 4; H. Thomas 2-2 0-0 5. Totals 25-54 15-20 73.
LOUISIANA TECH 26-6 (16-2) -- K. Smith 5-10 3-4 16; R. Appleby 4-17 2-2 12; M. Kyser 4-5 1-2 9; C. Johnson 3-10 1-2 9; C. Anderson 1-5 0-0 2; K. McNeail 2-10 1-1 6; J. Johnson 1-5 0-0 2; A. Hamilton 1-4 2-2 4; B. Gibson 0-2 0-0 0; J. Lewis 3-5 1-1 7; I. Massey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-74 11-14 67.
Three-point goals: UTSA 8-20 (J. Hill 0-1; J. Sims 1-5; M. Hale 1-5; K. Burrage 5-8; H. Thomas 1-1), LTU 8-33 (B. Gibson 0-2; C. Johnson 2-5; K. McNeaill 1-7; R. Appleby 2-9; K. Smith 3-7; J. Johnson 0-3); Rebounds: UTSA 42 (K. Burrage 13), LTU 33 (M. Kyser 8); Assists: UTSA 10 (M. Hale 4), LTU 12 (K. Smith 4); Total Fouls -- UTSA 10, LTU 21; Fouled Out: UTSA-None; LTU-None.
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