Late run pushes Louisiana Tech past UAB, 64-53
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech executed at a high level down the stretch on Thursday night, closing the game on a 15-4 run in the final five minutes to pull away from UAB and secure a 64-53 victory inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
After suffering two close losses last week in large part due to the execution late in games, LA Tech (12-5, 2-2 C-USA) made six of their last seven field goals to help remain undefeated at home with a perfect 9-0 mark.
Another crucial piece to taking down UAB (10-6, 2-1 C-USA) was rebounding. Check that box off as well for the Bulldogs as they came away even on the boards at 36-all, ultimately allowing the fewest points by an opponent this season.
“I thought in the last four minutes, and even in the entire game, it was rebounding,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We had to rebound the basketball. UAB came in as one of the best rebounding teams in the country. Coming up with those key rebounds and not giving them second shots throughout the game, especially in the last four minutes, was huge.”
Scoring was at a premium for both squads early as the game was tied at 6-6 seven minutes in. However, that was when the ‘Dogs went on a 14-0 run which was capped off by five straight points from junior Oliver Powell to build their largest lead of the game at 20-6.
The Blazers were able to chip away though in the final seven minutes of the first half thanks to the three-ball. Star player Zack Bryant returned to action after being in early foul trouble and hit two of UAB’s three triples to slice the deficit to 30-22 at the midway point.
The lead gradually shrunk for LA Tech early in the second half as well with UAB tying it up at 36 apiece at the 13:55 mark. The Bulldogs would counter that with an 8-0 run.
Again, the Blazers clawed back into it, tying it up at 49-49 with 5:12 left to play. And again, LA Tech countered with an 8-0 run which included two big three-pointers by sophomores Amorie Archibald and JaColby Pemberton.
“It has been close games coming down the stretch, needing a stop or needing a score,” said Konkol. “I am really proud of our guys for being in that moment and getting into execution mode on both sides. We are going to be in a lot of close games. We have to be able to execute and we did tonight.”
Pemberton added a jumper in the paint and another three, his fifth of the contest, while junior DaQuan Bracey threw down a fastbreak slam to put the game away.
It was a complete game for Pemberton who finished with a career-high 17 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals.
“He was fantastic,” Konkol said about his redshirt sophomore. “It was very hard taking him out of the game. He ended up playing 36 minutes. With blocks and steals and reboundings and guarding their best shooter, then the guys doing a nice job of finding him on offense knocking down some big threes for us, I was really proud of him. He really delivered for us tonight.”
Bracey and Powell were the other two in double figures, each with 11, as the team shot 43 percent from the field (25-58) and 36 percent from deep (8-22).
UAB was held to its second lowest point total of the year, going 21-of-56 from the field for 38 percent and 8-of-25 from downtown for 32 percent. Jalen Perry had a team-high 13 points and nine boards.
LA Tech returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 12 in the annual White Out game versus Middle Tennessee in the TAC. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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