Louisiana Tech overcomes flat tire, large deficit to win Thursday in Puerto Rico

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team overcame some adversity both on and off the court on Thursday evening, pulling out an 87-80 victory over the LPB Blue All-Stars inside the Mario Morales Coliseum.

While cruising along in the charter bus on the way to the arena, a flat tire only a couple of miles from the destination derailed the team’s expected arrival time.

Approximately 40 minutes later, another charter bus arrived on the scene to rescue the Bulldogs on the side of the road.

Once the delayed contest was tipped, LA Tech gradually separated themselves from the LPB Blue All-Stars, going up as much as 19 points late in the third quarter. However, the home squad chipped away in the fourth getting to within six late, but the ‘Dogs came out victorious in the second of their three exhibitions.

“We played a better team today,” said head coach Talvin Hester. “The ball did not fall like it did yesterday even though we shot a good percentage from three, but we have to hang our hat on defense. This opponent brought some pressure at us and we handled it decently, but we have to handle it better and limit our turnovers. I don’t want to be here and win every game by 40. We came here to get better as a team. We had some situational some there at the end that we handled well.”

For a second straight day, it was Keaston Willis and Kaleb Stewart leading the charge offensively. The duo combined for 25 points in the first half to help LA Tech produce a 45-33 lead at the midway point.

The Bulldogs extended its lead to 17 at 67-50 at the end of the third frame, never surrendering their advantage despite the 30 fourth quarter points put up by the Blue All-Stars.

“The day didn’t start out great with our bus issue,” said forward Will Allen who redshirted all last season due to a shoulder injury. “We needed to get off to a faster start because our opponent came ready to play. We woke up there in the second and third quarter, but let off the gas there in the fourth. We had to dig in and play though to pull it out.

“It feels great to box somebody out that is not my teammate, helping my team by doing the little things like taking charges and getting offensive rebounds.”

Willis finished with a team-high 23 points followed by Cobe Williams with 17 and Stewart with 16.

Barring another flat tire, LA Tech will play its third and final game of the summer tour on Friday at 3 p.m. CT versus the LPB Red All-Stars.

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

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