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|Tech tops ULM in first meeting on hardwood in 16 years|
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and ULM Warhawks renewed their rivalry Wednesday night after an 18-year hiatus.
It was the Bulldogs (4-4) who would renew their winning ways with a 69-57 victory over the visiting Warhawks before a crowd of 2,100 at Thomas Assembly Center.
La. Tech jumped out to a commanding 15-4 lead within six minutes of the opening tip. LA Tech shot 6-of-9 from the field during the span.
ULM had to overcome early foul trouble that proved fatal in the end. Rudy Turner and Mitchell Hampton both fouled out of the game with over four minutes remaining.
ULM came alive with a hot hand from Malcom Thomas to close the gap near the end of the first half.
Thomas led ULM on a 9-2 run to close the opening frame. The Bulldogs went to the lockers leading 32-29 over their rivals from just 30 miles down I-20.
"Our hats go off to ULM," said Tech head coach Kerry Rupp. "They executed their schemes very well, and they played very hard."
"When we do a good job of executing and moving the ball inside, usually good things happen," Rupp said.
The second half saw ULM cut the lead to 52-51 with nine minutes remaining before Tech used its trips to the charity stripe to seal the victory, their second on their home court this season.
The Bulldogs made 17-o-27 free throw attempts. ULM converted on 9-of-12 free throw attempts.
ULM also attributed a lot of their misfortune to poor shooting from beyond the arc. The Warhawks shot an ice cold 4-of-21 from three-point territory. ULM also committed 17 turnovers while the Bulldogs had 16 turnovers in the contest.
Kyle Gibson and Magnum Rolle combined for 19 points in the first half for the Bulldogs. Tech shot a solid 55 percent in field goal percentage for the first half compared to just 43 percent by ULM.
Rolle was the leading scorer in the game. The junior transfer from LSU scored 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and also hauled in eight rebounds for LA Tech.
Gibson finished the game with 16 points and Richwood High School product Kenneth Cooper poured in 13 points and grabbed five rebounds.
University of Miami (Fla.) transfer Lawrence Gilbert played in his first game for ULM and led the team with 16 points. Rudy Turner scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds before fouling out late in the game.
One glaring statistic found that the Bulldogs converted 17 ULM turnovers into 19 points while the Warhawks made just six points off 16 turnovers by the Bulldogs.