Louisiana Tech cruises into NIT quarterfinals
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Alex Hamilton scored 25 points and Louisiana Tech made 11 3-pointers as the Bulldogs rolled to an 84-72 victory over Texas A&M in the second round of the NIT on Monday.
''It's arguably Alex's best game,'' Louisiana Tech coach Michael White said. ''I thought he showed great resilience and character.''
Hamilton was 9 of 15 from the field, including 3 of 6 from distance, for Louisiana Tech (27-8). Kenneth ''Speedy'' Smith drained all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 16 points and eight assists and consistently created off of high ball screens by getting into the lane.
''I was really impressed with their guard play,'' A&M coach Bill Kennedy said. ''Speedy Smith is probably, besides Kentucky, maybe the best point guard we've played this year.''
The Bulldogs shot 51.7 percent from the field, including 63 percent in the second half.
Louisiana Tech dictated the tempo from the tip and wore the Aggies down with its ability to force turnovers and convert second-chance opportunities. The Bulldogs scored 20 points off of 10 offensive rebounds.
Louisiana Tech opened with a full-court press, which A&M (21-12) was able to create a few easy buckets off of, but switched to man defense at the half.
''I think once they went man, they weren't trying to steal the ball as much as they were trying to slow us down,'' said A&M's Alex Caruso, who finished with six points, five assists and four steals.
A&M freshman point guard Alex Robinson continued his NIT breakout with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists, but also had six turnovers.
''He was a guard in this type of game that fit his style of play - up-and-down pace,'' Kennedy said. ''Besides the six turnovers, he had an outstanding game.''
Jalen Jones had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Aggies. Seniors Jordan Green and Kourtney Roberson scored 14 and 10, respectively, in their final games for A&M. The Aggies shot 43 percent for the game, 39 percent in the second half.
Danuel House, A&M's leading scorer, missed the game with a foot injury.
Louisiana Tech: Travels to play No. 1 seed Temple (25-10) on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
Texas A&M: Season is over.