Texas downs LA Tech in Austin, 75-60

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AUSTIN, Texas – Banged up and without one of their key frontcourt players, Louisiana Tech fought and battled in Austin but ended up falling, 75-60, to Texas on Saturday afternoon at the Frank Erwin Center.

Undersized, undermanned (without forward Oliver Powell) and not able to regularly hit the outside shots, LA Tech (7-4) still found themselves in the game against a Texas (7-3) squad that has gone toe-to-toe with the top teams in the country.

Down by as much as 17 points in the first half, the Bulldogs chipped away with some tenacious defense and got to within four points on two different occasions midway through the second half.

However, the Longhorns used their towering size to push their lead back out to double-digits and finish on top.

“We did not get off to a good start,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We turned the ball over a lot early and really did not get a good rhythm on the perimeter which is a big part of our game. I am proud of our guys for fighting and battling on the interior, on the backboards. We got the game down to four points there in the second half but could not make enough plays to really make it a game.”

Things did not get off to a good start for LA Tech as Texas quickly jumped out to a 7-0 lead. After four minutes of no points, forward Anthony Duruji who saw extended minutes with Powell not available, knocked down a free throw and a three-pointer to get the Bulldogs on the board.

The Longhorns pushed their lead to double-digits after back-to-back three-pointers, but guard Jacobi Boykins countered with a triple of his own to put the deficit at 18-8 midway through the first half.

Turnovers began to really hurt the Bulldogs as the Longhorns stretched their lead out to 34-17 with 2:34 to go. From there though, LA Tech found some offensive rhythm and ended the half on an 11-4 run to be down 38-26 at intermission.

Guard DaQuan Bracey only had four points in that first period, but started heating up in the second. He made nine straight points in in the span of 71 seconds to pull the ‘Dogs within four at 52-48 with 10:48 remaining.

Texas really started to pound the ball inside from there though between Mohamed Bamba and Dylan Osetkowski. Bamba scored six straight to go on a 10-2 run and force a timeout by coach Konkol.

“Playing Texas posed us some problems in the middle,” Konkol said. “When you try to penetrate and you have rim protectors there, it makes it difficult. When we really needed a bucket, we had a hard time getting it. We were able to get some off of our press, but we just could not get over that hump.”

Bracey made a couple of buckets later on to get the deficit back down to single digits, but LA Tech ran out of steam, suffering their fourth loss in the last six games.

LA Tech shot a season-low 34 percent from the field (21-of-62) while making just six three-pointers. Bracey ended up with a game-high and new career-high 24 points. Duruji matched his career-high with 10 points to go along with a career-high/team-high seven rebounds.

Guard Derric Jean was the third Bulldog in double figures, coming off the bench to score 10 points and register three steals.

As a team, Texas shot 49 percent from the field (24-of-49) and 43 percent from three-point range (6-of-14). Osetkowski finished with a game-high 22 points while Bamba added 14.

LA Tech will look to end its two-game losing skid on Thursday, Dec. 21 when they face Alabama State in the New Orleans Shootout. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

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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