The loss dropped San Jose State to 5-15 on the season, and 2-9 in WAC play.
Louisiana Tech led 35-24 at the half and the Bulldogs had opportunities to pull substantially ahead in the second stanza but a group of pesky Spartans refused to back down before making a late move.
"You have to give a lot of credit to (San Jose State coach) Phil Johnson," Louisiana Tech Keith Richard said. "That's a well-coached team and they did what they had to do to try to get the win. They didn't let us pull away and made a late run. I'm just glad we held them off."
The game wasn't decided until the final seconds as San Jose's Keith West made a move for the basket to try to tie things up before the final buzzer sounded. But Tech's Antonio Meeking came up with a thunderous block, sending the ball back to teammate Lavelle Felton. Felton launched the ball from well behind the half-court line and it hit nothing but net to extend the winning margin to five at the buzzer.
"I knew I had four fouls, but it was the heat of the moment and you don't think about trying to stay alive in overtime at that point," Meeking said. "I just went to make a play and it worked."
Johnson said the Spartans got the final play they wanted, but Meeking simply kept it from working.
"We drew up a play and had it designed perfectly," Johnson said. "We wanted to give to Brandon (Hawkins) and have him take it off the dribble with our posts crossing. We then got it to Keith West with the clock running down and Meeking blocked his shot. It was there and open and if we score, we go to overtime."
San Jose State's spread offense seemed to frustrate Tech in the second half, and that frustration showed on the offensive side for the Bulldogs as they committed 10 turnovers after intermission. Tech also hit on only 58.3 percent of its free throws in the second half after hitting on 72.2 percent in the opening stanza.
"We had plenty of chances to pull ahead by 15 or 20 points in the second half but we didn't do it," Richard said. "We got very conservative defensively in the last five minutes. San Jose will try to frustrate you. I told our players before the game that no matter how difficult it gets, don't let them frustrate you. But San Jose won that battle, because they did frustrate us and we were fortunate to get away."
Antonio Lawrence led San Jose State with 22 points.
SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Spartans had the opportunity to upset No. 9 Louisiana Tech, but San Jose State came up short, 66-59, in a Western Athletic Conference game at The Event Center on Saturday night. The outcome was doubt heading into the final 30 seconds of the game.
After losing by an average of 37 points in the previous three meetings, the Spartans (8-12, 4-7 WAC) held the lead most of the first half, relinquishing it to the Lady Techsters (19-2, 11-0 WAC) in the final three minutes of the first half. San Jose State kept the pressure up throughout the final period.
The Spartans trailed, 60-59, entering the final minute of action, but turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions when they had the opportunity to retake the lead.
Tamaka Clay would hit one free throw with 45 second left to push the Lady Techsters to a 61-59 lead. With 31 seconds left on the clock, Trina Frierson, scored on a layup to give Louisiana Tech a four-point cushion, 63-59.
"I'm really proud of our effort tonight," Spartans head coach Janice Richard said. "You almost have to play a perfect game to beat them. We only had a few breakdowns, and we weren't able to knock down the shots when we needed."
San Jose State still managed to get three three-point attempts off in the waning moments of the game, but came up short.
Cricket Williams had 22 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, recording her second straight double-double. Jessica Kellogg added 17 points.
"I think we did a great job overall," said Williams. "We all played a great game. This should be an inspiration for us. We should have won this game, and that should give us some confidence."
Cheryl Ford had 16 points and 14 rebounds as Louisiana Tech tied a record by winning its 14th straight conference game. Ford also made three free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the win.
In three previous meetings between the teams, Louisiana Tech won by 30, 40 and 45 points. The Spartans' worst loss of the season came to the Lady Techsters, 83-38 on Jan. 9.
"I talked to all our players tonight and told them all they played great," continued Williams. "We plan on meeting them (Louisiana Tech) in the WAC tournament final."
Kellogg hit three 3-pointers in a two-minute stretch early in the second half as the Spartans rallied to tie the game at 42-42 with 14:13 remaining. It was still tied a minute later when Ford hit the first of two free throws to put Louisiana Tech ahead to stay.
The Spartans will have over a week before their next game when they host Hawaii on Sunday, February 16. Tip off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (PST) at The Event Center.