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Hot shooting Owls oust Tech from NIT

March 26, 2015
NIT Louisiana Tech Temple Basketball

Michale Kyser and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were knocked out of the NIT quarterfinals for a second straight year. – AP Photo / Charles Fox

 

Jared King
Sports Editor

 

Louisiana Tech’s season ended the same way it began, with a trip to the “City of Brotherly Love.” But the Temple Owls showed little love in beating the Bulldogs 77-59 Wednesday night.

 

Temple hit nine 3-pointers and led from start to finish as the Owls ended Tech’s run in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals — the second consecutive year Tech has been unable to advance past the quarterfinal round.

 

While Temple advances to the Final Four of the NIT in Madison Square Garden, Tech and its trio of beloved seniors return to Ruston as their season and their college careers come to a close.

 

“This group was special,” said Tech coach Michael White. “It’s been tough. It’s been tough since we lost at the conference tournament. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. I am proud of the way we handled it, and the character that we showed. We had a couple of nice wins against some good teams in the NIT.”

 

The Bulldogs were playing a Temple team that was much improved from their previous meeting. Due to eligibility issues and injuries, those Owls were without forward Jaylen Bond and guard Jesse Morgan — both of whom played big roles Wednesday night.

 

“They were (really good) both times that we played,” White said. “The goal was in front of us to get revenge. We just didn’t play well enough. I thought we were a little lethargic early. The key for us was less pressure and keeping them out of the paint. I thought it resulted in a lower energy level. We scrapped it at the half. I said if we are going to go down, we are going to go down swinging.”

 

Quenton DeCosey led the Owls with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Jesse Morgan added 17 points and Will Cummings tallied 15 points and six assists. The trio combined to hit 8-15 3-pointers.

 

“I thought Cummings and DeCosey kept making plays,” White said. “We just didn’t play with the same energy level (as Monday night). We missed some easy shots early in the game, and I thought that was big. It was a tough game for us.”

 

Temple scored the first five points of the game before a jumper by Erik McCree at the 18:15 mark got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. McCree started the game 4-4 from the field including connecting on two 3-pointers, the second of which cut the Temple lead to 8-7, but that would be the closest the Bulldogs would get.

 

A Cummings layup with 7:03 to play in the opening half stretched Temple’s lead to 34-20, the biggest of the first half for the Owls. Tech’s Kyser, Smith and McCree all got on the board in the final two minutes of the half and cut the Temple lead to 41-33 going into the break.

 

McCree led Tech with 14 points while Kyser and Appleby ended with 10 points each. Smith ended with eight points and five assists before leaving the game with an apparent left ankle injury midway through the second half.

 

Email comments to jki008@latech.edu.

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