Men's Hoops Succumbs To Louisiana Tech Pressure

Ruston, La.-----San Jose State could not handle Louisiana Tech's defensive pressure and dropped a 75-49 decision in a Western Athletic Conference men's basketball game.

The Bulldogs (14-14, 4-7 WAC) won their third game in a row forcing the Spartans (9-18, 1-10) into 18 turnovers, matching a San Jose State season-high.

"Louisiana Tech's pressure and traps really bothered us. They forced us into turnovers a number of times and created scores out of those. That's how they got the lead; that's how they extended the lead," said San Jose State coach George Nessman about the Bulldogs' three-quarter court trapping defense. "I'm really disappointed in our ball security tonight. That's not been an issue for our team, literally. Tonight, it was a huge issue. I have to credit La Tech for their excellence on defense and chastise our entire team and program for our lack of toughness with the ball."

San Jose State entered the game 16th nationally for fewest turnovers per game at 11.0. Louisiana Tech scored 23 points off of the Spartans' inability to hold on to the ball.

The Bulldogs came into the game as the WAC's most prolific three-point shooting team in the conference, but instead used  penetrating drives into the paint with center Romario Souza finishing a number of plays with layups. Louisiana Tech's senior center scored a career high 19 points. Freshman guard Raheem Appleby, the team's leading scorer, was 8-of-13 from the field for 17 points.

Louisiana Tech made 53.4 percent of its field goal tries compared to San Jose State's 34.7 percent. The Spartans trailed 32-22 at halftime and had just two three-point baskets by James Kinney, who finished with six points, in the first 10 minutes of the second half. With 10 minutes remaining, the Spartans were down, 54-29.

"I was very, very pleased with our effort. We were very, very good. We took great shots and we guarded and pressured without fouling. Our (defensive) awareness and communication was so good," said Louisiana Tech coach Michael White.

Wil Carter was the only double-figure scorer for San Jose State with 17 points.  Center Stephon Smith was 4-of-5 from inside for 8 points. Outside of the Spartans' two frontcourt starters, the rest of the team was 8-of-35 from the field.

"We didn't play smart. We had too many turnovers and I think they scored on almost every single one of them. It's hard to win that way," said Carter, who matched Souza with eight rebounds. "There was a lack of focus, a lack of intensity, a lack of confidence. We played scared."

San Jose State moves on to New Mexico State for its last regular-season road game, Saturday, February 25. Game time is 7:00 p.m. (MST).