In their final tune-up before the regular season, Louisiana Tech cruised to an 86-50 victory over Mississippi College on Thursday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
Kenneth Lofton, Jr. was his usual self in 21 minutes of action, recording 13 points, nine rebounds, two assists and three steals.
Joining the Preseason All-Conference USA honoree in double figures were new faces as transfer Keaston Willis drained five triples in route to a game-high 17 points to go along with eight boards and freshman Kaleb Stewart tallied 11 points and four rebounds.
“These opportunities are a great way to evaluate our team,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol. “We have a number of new players. It gives them a chance to simulate and get playing experience with our returners. Tonight, Mississippi College was switching everything, denying passes, some run and jump trapping. It was good to put all of our guys in a lot of situations. We have to understand how important is it to come out from the start playing hard defensively and letting the defense turn into our offense.”
LA Tech struggled to get off to a good start, turning the ball over six times in the first seven minutes. As a result, they found themselves down 11-9 to the Choctaws. The Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run though after trailing for the only time, sparked by six straight points from Junior.
The score started to open up as the three-pointers started to fall. Stewart and Willis connected for three threes late in the first half to help give the ‘Dogs a 38-23 halftime edge.
Willis, a transfer from Incarnate Word, drained three more from beyond the arc in the span of six minutes in the second stanza, the last one giving LA Tech a 63-38 edge. The lead maxed out at 36 as the Bulldogs took better care of the basketball and put the game away.
LA Tech shot 53 percent for the game (35-of-66), making a total of 12 threes. Mississippi College was limited to 34 percent shooting and had only one player in double-figures as Galen Smith registered 10 off the bench.
The Bulldogs open the regular season Tuesday at Alabama. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
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