Raheem Appleby led all scorers with 27 points as the fifth-seeded Louisiana Tech Bulldogs used a strong second half to blow past the fourth-seeded Florida State Seminoles, 71-66, in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
Appleby shot 12-of-19 from the field for Louisiana Tech (27-6), which snapped a three-game losing streak and will await the winner of the Charleston Southern/Southern Miss matchup in the next round. Alex Hamilton netted 16 points for the visitors.
For FSU (18-16), Michael Snaer poured in 24 points while shooting 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Okaro White had 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks, while Montay Brandon put up 10 points off the bench for the Seminoles, who wrap up the season losers of two straight.
FSU shot 44 percent from the field in the first half while holding Louisiana Tech to just 25.8 percent shooting, as it carried a 28-24 lead into intermission.
The Seminoles improved to 48 percent from the floor after halftime, but the Bulldogs came out red-hot in the second stanza, making 65.5 percent of their field goal tries. With the game tied at 62-62 with under three minutes remaining, Louisiana Tech ran off a 6-0 surge to seal its fate.
Louisiana Tech won the rebounding battle, 36-29, and scored 26 points off of 18 FSU turnovers.