Kenneth Smith's put-back layup with two seconds remaining lifted Louisiana Tech to an 89-88 victory over Iona in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament Wednesday night in the Thomas Assembly Center in front of a crowd of 4,643 fans.
LA Tech (28-7) got off to a hot start jumping out to a 10-2 lead to start the game. The Gaels fought back and the two teams would go into the half tied at 48. The Bulldogs and Gaels (22-11) traded blows in the second half, but two Iona free throws put them up by one point with 12 seconds remaining on the clock. Alex Hamilton missed a jumper with four seconds remaining, but Smith was there for the layup to give Tech the victory. Iona's last-second full court heave would just miss, hitting both the backboard and rim.
The Bulldogs offensive effort was led by Jaron Johnson and Kenyon McNeail, who each added 15 points. Smith added 14 points to go along with six assists and five steals. Chris Anderson recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Also scoring in double-digits for the Bulldogs were Michale Kyser and Alex Hamilton, who each added 12 points.
Iona was led by David Laury, who grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 21 points, 15 of which came in the second half. A.J. English also scored 21 points for the Gaels.
Louisiana Tech advanced to the second round of the NIT and will travel to Athens, Georgia to face off with the University of Georgia. The time and date of Tech's second round matchup has yet to be determined.