Thursday November 26th, 2015 6:17PM

Slow start dooms Dogs in second round NIT loss

By The Associated Press
ATHENS -- Louisiana Tech was so dominant in the first 13 minutes against Georgia on Saturday that its biggest challenge became avoiding tentative play.

It was a pleasant dilemma that Louisiana Tech overcame, though not without a late scare.

Alex Hamilton scored 20 points and Louisiana Tech led by 26 points in the first half before holding off a late Georgia comeback for a 79-71 victory in the second round of the NIT.

The Bulldogs from Louisiana Tech used pressure defense - full-court and half-court - to cause turnovers that helped create a flurry of transition baskets and 3-pointers. The Bulldogs from Georgia never led.

"We were, I guess, in a great rhythm at doing what we do best, creating turnovers and turning those turnovers into points," Louisiana Tech coach Michael White said. "In the open floor we got decent looks. ... The early turnovers allowed us to play in the open floor, allowed us open jumpers and got us a lead that we were able to hold the entire game."

Louisiana Tech (29-7) made seven of its first eight 3-point attempts while taking a 39-13 lead. The key was 10 first-half steals. Georgia's 13 first-half turnovers led to 16 points for the visiting Bulldogs.

Louisiana Tech led 46-27 at halftime and then faltered when it tried to sit on the lead.

"You preach don't get tentative and at times I thought we got tentative," White said. "...We were watching that clock probably a little too much and we're not at our best when we're doing that, which makes us have to score against a set (defense). That's not our strength, as compared to playing with the open floor."

Georgia (20-14) regained its offensive composure in the second half, when Louisiana Tech managed only one point off six turnovers.

Georgia cut the lead to 72-66 with 1:08 remaining. Georgia's J.J. Frazier, who had 15 points, made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 75-71. The comeback ended there.

Louisiana Tech will play the winner of Monday's Georgetown-Florida State game in the quarterfinals.

Chris Anderson scored 18 points, Cordarius Johnson added 16 and Kenyon McNeail had 14 for Louisiana Tech.

Charles Mann had 13 points and seven turnovers for Georgia.

"I just didn't play well," Mann said. "I didn't take care of the ball at the beginning at all. I've just got to do a better job at that."

Georgia overcame a season-high 22 turnovers by closing its 63-56 NIT opening-round win over Vermont with a 14-2 run. The Bulldogs' again had ball-handling problems as Louisiana Tech's pressure was too much to overcome.

"Obviously we had a terrible start and dug such a big hole we just couldn't get all the way out of it," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "I thought we made a lot of mental errors in the first half and those are very costly because Louisiana Tech has a good team and good teams make you pay for your mistakes."

White said Georgia's turnovers against Vermont "definitely" influenced his plan to turn up the defensive pressure.

"First of all, that's what we do," White said. "That's our strength. We're always going to play to our strength. ... We were eager to get back to playing more with our defensive identity. ... The full-court and the half-court pressure were as important as they've been all year."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 10 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 10 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 10 months ago )
Jackets, Mississippi St. clash in Orange Bowl
No. 10 Georgia Tech has the nation's second-ranked rushing offense. No. 8 Mississippi State has held seven of its 12 opponents under 125 yards on the ground.
5:04PM ( 10 months ago )
Ole Miss defense braces for TCU offense in Peach Bowl
Mississippi and TCU were part of the playoffs story in 2014. Each team was part of the chase. Each team fell short of the coveted semifinals.
5:01PM ( 10 months ago )
Kiffin shining again after season of redemption
Lane Kiffin was modest in his goals and complimentary about the team he'll be facing in the Sugar Bowl. He went on and on about how much he's learned from Nick Saban, while insisting it's no big deal when his boss yells at him. Very un-Kiffin-like, you might say.
11:02PM ( 10 months ago )
College Sports
'Scary' Archer offers huge roadblock to Hawks' semifinal quest
It wasn't quite ‘The Exorcist,’ but all it took was one quick look at Archer's game film to make Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis shut his eyes and turn away.
7:20PM ( 1 day from now )
VIDEO: Races won, Champions crowned in NASCAR finales at Homestead
After 10 months, 35 races, nine elimination races, a lot of racing and just as much drama, it all came down to the final restart. Kyle Busch surged ahead of leader Brad Keselowski with just seven laps left in Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and sped away to not only score the victory, but to clinch his first career Sprint Cup Series championship.
2:00PM ( 4 hours ago )
Girls basketball: West Hall closes Florida tourney with win
The West Hall girls basketball team notched a 53-42 win over TR Miller High of Brewton, Ala., on Wednesday in the Emerald Coast Thanksgiving Classic tournament in Ft. Walton Beach.
By AccessWDUN Staff
12:00PM ( 6 hours ago )
Pressure Cooker: SEC coaches face unyielding pressure to win
Georgia coach Mark Richt seems to be under constant scrutiny, and it has intensified since the Bulldogs (8-3) were knocked out of the title chase by rival Florida...
11:16AM ( 7 hours ago )
Mann, Frazier help Georgia hold off High Point 49-46
It's Thanksgiving not Halloween, but Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was sure the Bulldogs were waking the dead with their 49-46 win over High Point Wednesday.
By The Associated Press
11:50PM ( 18 hours ago )