Bulldogs steamroll Owls with postseason on the horizon

They say you always want to be playing your best basketball heading into March.

The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team is doing just that.

Case in point, the Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine games including the recent steamrolling of Rice in a two-game series sweep on Friday and Saturday inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

In game one, LA Tech played as flawless of a game as you can in blowing out the Owls by a final score of 101-57.

Close to wrapping up their eighth season in Conference USA, the Bulldogs set several program records in against a C-USA opponent – most points scored (101), largest margin of victory (+44) and most made field goals (37).

There was one more. LA Tech hit 17 three-pointers, which also tied an overall program record (made 17 versus Longwood in 2014). This came after the ‘Dogs were struggling a bit from beyond the arc recently, having made no more than six in each of the last five games.

Game two was not as flawless as the home team was clinging to a four-point lead with 10 minutes left to go in the game. But, the Bulldogs turned up the heat, outscoring the Owls 24-7 the rest of the way to win, 79-58.

(LA Tech made a ho-hum nine 3-pointers in that contest.)

Helping the Bulldogs total 180 points in the two games was Kalob Ledoux. The shooting guard was leading the team in scoring prior to suffering an injury that set him back four games. In the first six games since his return, he had not scored double-digit points and had hit only three total threes.

He broke out of that mini-slump in a big way, scoring a team-high 25 points on Friday and 17 points on Saturday while connecting on nine total treys.

Doing the damage down low was again Kenneth Lofton, Jr. The freshman netted a double-double on Friday with 16 points and 10 rebounds, then came back Saturday to register 17 points and six boards.

More can be talked about with the offense, but the defense deserves just as much praise (if not more). Rice came into the contest as one of the elite three-point shooting teams in the country.

All the Bulldogs did was hold the Owls to their two worst shooting performances of the season (32.3 percent on Friday and 33.9 percent on Saturday). In neither game did Rice shoot higher than 30 percent from beyond the arc.

The “Junkyard Dogs,” as they are known as, have now held nine straight opponents to 64 points or less.

This swarming defense, coupled with a streaking offense, has carried LA Tech to a 19-6 overall record and a 12-4 league mark, putting the Dunkin’ Dogs in a tie for first in the West Division. The regular season conference schedule is over, and the league tournament begins March 9 in Frisco, Texas.

Photo:  Darrell James

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