Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications
Bulldogs 79, Marshall 56
Louisiana Tech opened up Conference USA play in impressive fashion, defeating Marshall by a final score of 79-56 inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
It was arguably the best defensive performance by LA Tech (10-3, 1-0 C-USA) this season, holding an up-tempo, high-powered Marshall (7-7, 0-1 C-USA) team to a season-low in points and just 29.4 percent shooting.
“I thought it was a total team effort,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol. “That is the type of response you want when you have some adversity. It was an opportunity for somebody to step up and I thought Kenny Hunter did a remarkable job. He provided a lot of energy and really ignited our team.
“Once we got some stops, we were able to get in transition. I thought Cobe Williams, Amorie Archibald, Keaston Willis, their floor game of taking care of the basketball and finding good looks for our team really got us going to build that lead.”
The Herd had the upper-hand though early in the game, scoring 10 straight points to build an early 10-2 lead. And with that eight-point lead just three minutes into the nationally-televised contest and the Bulldogs leading scorer Kenneth Lofton, Jr. forced to sit due to two fouls, things were looking up for the visiting team.
However, the rest of the team took their game to another level and then some. Trailing 16-9, the Bulldogs went on a 17-0 run. The lead ultimately grew to 42-27 at the midway point behind strong play from Cobe Williams (career-high 22 points), Keaston Willis (20 points) and Kenny Hunter (seven points and a career-high 12 rebounds).
Knowing the Herd can score in bunches, Willis came out on fire in the second half by hitting four three-pointers in less than five minutes to put the game away for the Bulldogs who won their 16th straight home game.
Tech hosts WKU Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Marshall 62, Lady Techsters 44
HUNTINGTON, W.V. – The Lady Techsters fell to Marshall, 62-44, despite a game-high 21 points by Keiunna Walker Thursday night in the conference opener inside the Cam Henderson Center.
The Lady Techsters fall to 8-4 on the year and 0-1 in conference play, while Marshall improves to 6-4 overall and 1-0 in the conference.
After surrendering the first points of the game to the Thundering Herd, the Lady Techsters used an 8-0 run to take an early 8-2 lead just four minutes into the game. Sophomore Anna Larr Roberson sparked the surge with a layup, her 600th point of her career, before Walker converted a three-point play and nailed a three-pointer from the wing.
A layup by freshman Kate Thompson and a pair of free throws by Walker pushed Tech’s lead out to seven at 14-7 moments later, but a three by Marshall’s CC Mays cut the Lady Techsters advantage down to 14-10. Tech led 16-10 after the opening frame as sophomore Robyn Lee connected on a jumper from the short corner.
Marshall turned their defense up a notch in the second quarter, forcing six Tech turnovers leading to 15 points. The Thundering Herd used a 9-0 run to take a 19-16 lead with 7:00 left in the half. The Lady Techsters battled back-and-forth with Marshall through the remainder of the period before a three and a layup by Marshall’s Savannah Wheeler put the Thundering Herd up 32-24 at the break.
Marshall extended their lead out to as much as 16 at 44-28 in the third quarter, behind a 10-0 surge that spanned two minutes of action. Sophomore Salma Bates connected from long range, cutting the deficit to 44-31 entering the fourth quarter.
A 7-2 run by the Lady Techsters, featuring five points from Walker, cut Marshall’s lead down to eight at 46-38 with 7:58 left in the game. The Thundering Herd answered, pushing their lead back out to 15 at 55-40 with 2:23 remaining. Forced to foul, Marshall knocked down four free throw and a three to claim the victory 62-44.
Walker extended her streak of games in double figures to 13, one of only four players in C-USA to score in double figures every game this season.
Tech fell to 6-5 all-time against Marshall with eight of the 11 games coming in Huntington.
The Lady Techsters return to the court on Saturday when they open the new year at Western Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
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