GAME NOTES: Tied for the most wins in a single season in program history, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs try to set a new standard tonight as they clash with the Florida State Seminoles in the quarterfinals of the NIT at the Tucker Center in Tallahassee.
Over the weekend Louisiana Tech, a team which represents Conference USA, grabbed a 79-71 win against Georgia in order to secure its 29th victory of the 2013-14 campaign. The win total matches the all-time mark set by the 1984-85 unit, with the victory also snapping what had been a 12-game losing streak against programs from the SEC.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles are barely 48 hours removed from their 101-90 win over visiting Georgetown at home. Florida State began this event six days ago with a meeting against Florida Gulf Coast and barely slipped by against perhaps a new in-state rival, 58-53. Prior to the meeting with the Hoyas, FSU has been held below 60 points in three of the previous four outings, which is why the offensive explosion was so unexpected.
This is just the second meeting all-time between these two programs, with the other taking place in the NIT two years ago, as the Bulldogs claimed a 71-66 victory
The winner of this meeting will make it to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden next week against Minnesota, which defeated Southern Miss last night by a score of 81-73 at Williams Arena.
Chris Anderson shot just 1-of-5 behind the 3-point line at Georgia, but still finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory over the weekend. Leading all scorers was Alex Hamilton with 20 points, followed by Cordarius Johnson and Kenyon McNeail off the bench with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Michael Kyser accounted for six points, six rebounds and an impressive seven blocked shots.
Having lost only twice since the end of January, the Bulldogs are one of the more explosive offensive teams in the country with an average of 81.2 ppg. The squad doesn't have a single, standout performer, but there are plenty of players who can carry the load when their number is called. Hamilton (14.7 ppg) and Anderson (12.2 ppg) may be at the top of the scoring list at the moment, but that's only because Kenneth Smith (7.5 ppg) has worked so hard to get them the ball, just a small part of his staggering 272 assists over the course of 35 games.
Over the course of 40 minutes, the Seminoles managed to let fly with just 44 field goal attempts, but the good news is the squad knocked down 30 of them, a staggering 68.2 percent clip, as they dispatched Georgetown a couple nights back. Aaron Thomas was credited with 26 points, followed by Devon Bookert with 21 and nine assists, while Ian Miller and Okaro White pitched in with 18 and 16 points, respectively. The 'Noles converted an astounding 11-of-16 behind the 3-point line and 30-of-38 at the charity stripe.
To put FSU's scoring burst into better perspective, based on the entirety of the season to this point, the team is still averaging just 70.9 ppg, converging slightly more than five 3-pointers per outing. Thomas (14.6 ppg), Miller (13.8 ppg) and White (13.4 ppg) have done the most damage at the offensive end, the latter also leading the way on the glass with 6.6 rpg as he shoots a solid 51.6 percent from the floor.
The Seminoles tend to keep scores lower against quality opponents, but there's no reason to think Louisiana Tech can't dictate the pace of this meeting to suit the needs and abilities of the Bulldogs.
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