Bulldogs rally to down Ragin’ Cajuns, 78-69

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Keaston Willis
(Photo: Sadie Patton)

RUSTON – Louisiana Tech overcame foul trouble and poor shooting in the first half to storm back and defeat UL-Lafayette, 78-69, on Saturday inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

Two quick fouls apiece for Exavian Christon and Kenneth Lofton, Jr. in the first stanza, combined with an 0-for-13 shooting effort from beyond the arc and the difficult of guarding Jordan Brown, put LA Tech (7-2) in the hole.

Down as much as nine points on three different occasions, the cold-shooting Bulldogs found a late 6-0 run in them to get to within three at 34-31 at the midway point of the game.

It was not until the 17:28 mark in the second half that the ‘Dogs took their first lead of the game at 39-38 after a fastbreak layup by Cobe Williams who finished with a career-high 20 points and a season-high seven rebounds.

The lead was short-lived though as UL-Lafayette (5-4) countered with a 9-3 run, including four of Brown’s game-high 30 points, to hold a 47-42 edge.

The home team started to heat up on offense, getting a deep three-pointer from Keaston Willis as well as an up-and-under three-point play by Junior, to go on a 10-0 run and grab a 52-47 advantage.

The game was neck-and-neck going down to the wire. With LA Tech holding a slim three-point lead with two minutes to play, Archibald scored a layup on a back-door pass from Junior. The fifth-year senior then got back-to-back steals in the span of 20 seconds on the defensive end and sank all four free throws on the offensive end to help seal the victory.

The team made 20 of their 24 free throw attempts, getting a season-high 18 points from Archibald and a sixth double-double from Junior who ended with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Head coach Eric Konkol

“I thought a couple of our looks in the first half were open, we just missed. Then, we took some tough ones and a little doubt creeped in. UL-Lafayette has a lot of size and has been a team that has defended very well this year. We just needed to keep moving on to the next play, find the next open shot. We were fortunate with the foul trouble we had [in the first half] with Christon and Lofton to be down only three at halftime. We kept chipping away. We needed to let our defense ignite our offense, get out in transition more and put more pressure in the paint. Cobe Williams was dynamic with pushing tempo and we were able to make our free throws.”

• With the win, LA Tech improved to 91-76 all-time against UL-Lafayette.
• The Bulldogs have now won seven of their last eight games.
• LA Tech extended its home winning streak to 13 and have won 26 straight home games against non-conference opponents. The Bulldogs are 50-3 at home since the 2018-19 season.
• The Bulldogs scored exactly 78 points. They have now scored 78+ points in seven straight games, something that has not been done since 1972. They have also scored 40+ points in 11 of their last 14 halves.
• LA Tech shot 83.3 percent from the foul line (20-of-24). Over the last three games, they had made 25 straight free throws. The Bulldogs have made at least 83 percent of their free throws in five of their last six games.
• The nine-point deficit was the largest margin overcome this season for the Bulldogs.
• LA Tech forced 16 turnovers. They are 6-0 this season with forcing at least 15 turnovers.
• Cobe Williams scored a career-high 20 points (third Bulldog this season with 20+ in a game) while also pulling down a season-high seven rebounds. He added a team-high three assists and tied his career-high with three steals.
• Amorie Archibald scored a season-high 18 points, making all five of his free throws to improve to 32-of-35 from the foul line. He has scored 17+ points in three games this season.
• Despite foul trouble, Kenneth Lofton, Jr. posted his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. He has tallied double-digit points in all nine games this season and has anchored the team in rebounding in 14 straight games dating back to last season.

LA Tech will face LSU-Shreveport on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court. The matchup will be streamed live on CUSA.tv.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB).

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