Redding played by far his most minutes of the season. With Kyle Gibson sitting out with an injury, Redding used his tremendous athleticism to pull down 8 boards and get a blocked shot against a much taller team. The freshman from Tallahassee added 13 points, 2 steals, and 1 assist for Louisiana Tech Head Coach Kerry Rupp.
Ashaolu plays his best when he plays with passion. The 6'7" sophomore had one of his best games of the year. While Redding and Ashaolu aren't the tallest forwards in college bgasketball, they play hard and they are strong enough to play inside. It helps that they can out-jump the competition. Several times, a Bulldog forard would rise above the crowd to pull down a big rebound.
Things didn't start out great for Tech. USM raced out to a 16-5 lead and looked like they couldn't miss. Tech looked a little lost without Magnum Rolle or Kyle Gibson on the court. Junior center Shawn Oliverson came off the bench and almost right away came up with a monster block that fired up the team and the crowd. The 6'10" Oliverson provided 3 rebounds, 3 fouls, and 2 blocks for the game in 12 minutes. While he didn't play a ton of minutes, he certainly makes his presence known to the opposition.
After the block, Jamel Guyton hit a couple of big shots and DeAndre Brown was off to the races. The junior point guard ended the night with 6 points, 5 assists, and a steal. With Redding and Ashaolu running the court, Brown was able to push the ball and make positive things happen for the team.
Tevin Hall and Anson Bartlett also provided energy and defense in limited minutes. Each player ended up with 4 points while Hall added two steals. Bartlett, Tech's steal master, assisted Hall on one of the steals. The two players entered the game with 8 seconds before the half. Bartlett deflected a pass that Hall picked up and turned in to two points to tie the game at 30. Bartlett has 28 steals in under 300 minutes played this season.
Tech fans were able to get a look at next season's team. With Brown running the point and Ashaolu teamming with Redding at forward, the Bulldogs will be super athletic and very energetic. Bartlett, Oliverson, and Hall showed they can make positive impacts on the game for Coach Rupp.
Duece Johnson and Scottie Farrington will join the team next year and should help Asaholu inside. Both forwards are extremly athletic and fit the mold of a Kerry Rupp front court player. Brandon Gibson will be back and Josh Brown arrives to add scoring from the wing. Holton Hunsacker, expected to sign this spring, will give Coach Rupp a steady backup point guard. Hunsacker, the son of a NCAA Head Coach, could be a future star for the Bulldogs and a leader from his point guard position.
Louisiana Tech heads to Springfield, MO to take on Missouri State on Monday. Rolle may be available for the game. Either way, expect the Bulldogs to continue to play hard and find a way to put the ball in the basket.