With nine seconds remaining, Louisiana Tech guard Kenyon McNeaill missed a lay-up, but Louisiana Tech would regain possession as the ball rolled out of bounds. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Jonathan Wills tipped the ball away and into the hands of Kevin Olekaibe, but instead of an intentional foul, La. Tech forced a jump ball, and regained possession. Brandon Gibson received the inbound pass, drove to the lane, and dropped in the game winning basket in traffic as the buzzer sounded.
“It’s a tough break,” said Fresno State Head Coach Rodney Terry. “We’ve got to learn from these situations…there’s got to be no doubt in his mind that that’s our possession, and we don’t give them anything. That’s got to be a foul.”
With Fresno State trailing by three points going into the final minute, Jonathan Wills threw down a vicious and-1 dunk to tie the game at 56 each. The two teams traded free throw attempts, with Olekaibe giving the Bulldogs a one-point advantage with 16 seconds left. It appeared that Fresno State was just one stop away from a victory, but Louisiana Tech would get three chances to tie in the final seconds.
“Our guys really executed down the stretch,” Terry said. “Every play we called everything we did in terms of execution. They were on the money.”
Thursday’s loss marks the Bulldog’s second gut-wrenching loss on the road this season, including an earlier loss at Idaho when Wills was unable to get off a shot attempt on their final possession. Failing to finish out these games has helped land the ‘Dogs with a 1-5 start in WAC play.
“They put themselves in position to win the basketball game,” said Terry. “Just a matter of closing it out; especially when you’re on the road.”
Olekaibe led the Bulldogs with 20 points. Fresno State also got double digit scoring nights out of Garret Johnson with 11 off the bench, and Tyler Johnson with 10 points despite being limited to 24 minutes after early foul trouble. Fresno State turned the ball over just six times.
Fresno State’s road trip continues on Saturday at New Mexico State. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PST.
Discuss in BarkBoard.com Forums.
If you have not by now, subscribe to BarkBoard.com. Click HERE to get access to the members-only content from BB.C and the nation-wide Scout.com network.
©Copyright 2012, BarkBoard.com and Scout.com. All rights reserved.