LA Tech flexes muscle defensively in 78-57 win over Samford

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RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech defense forced 21 turnovers and Kalob Ledoux provided a big spark off the bench with a game-high 23 points to come away with a 78-57 victory over Samford on Saturday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

LA Tech (5-2) was plus-seven in the turnover margin, turning those turnovers into 21 points. More of their offense came from the 10 made three-pointers, four by Ledoux, and 16-of-18 shooting from the foul line to help register its fourth home win.

“We knew that we had a very powerful offense coming into the TAC in Samford,” said head coach Eric Konkol. “It was a real combination of keeping the ball out of the paint and limiting their point guard’s penetration. I thought the guys did a really nice job executing the game plan on the defensive end.

“We want to be able to turn people over in different ways. Our defensive mindset is having really active hands. I think our guys are really realizing how those types of defensive plays, those deflections, can turn into really good offense.”

It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the first half with Samford (4-5) grabbing a one-point edge on two occasions. The home Bulldogs held a slim 20-19 lead with 7:55 to go and finished the stanza on a 13-5 run which included triples by Amorie Archibald, DaQuan Bracey and Oliver Powell.

The halftime lead was 33-24, and the lead continue to grow on into the second half. LA Tech scored 15 points and held Samford to just four through almost the first seven minutes of action.

After Ledoux made three free throws to give the home ‘Dogs a 48-28 advantage, the visiting Bulldogs went on a quick 7-0 run to get back into the game.

That was as close as Samford would get though, thanks in large part to Ledoux who scored 13 of his season-high 23 the rest of the way.

“I thought Kalob came in and gave us a big spark off the bench,” said Konkol. “Playing a team that plays zone, he is such a weapon. He was able to get a lot of good looks and his teammates did a nice job of finding him. He ran the floor hard. It is great to have depth and balance.”

The team also had a plus-five rebounding margin with Mubarak Muhammed recording his third double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 15 boards. Derric Jean nearly had a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds while Bracey notched 14 points and seven assists.

LA Tech ended up shooting 39 percent from the field (26-66), but held Samford to 39 percent shooting (21-54) as well. They also turned their star point guard Josh Sharkey six times and limited their leading scorer Brandon Austin to just four points.

The Bulldogs return to action to face another Bulldog opponent in Mississippi State. The matchup in Starkville comes on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

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