Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Strategic Communications
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech remained perfect at home and in conference on Thursday night as they pulled away from Southern Miss in the second half to register an 80-57 victory inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
After only being up seven at halftime, LA Tech (14-3, 5-0 C-USA) ignited for 49 second-half points and built as much as a 34-point lead on USM (5-10, 1-2 C-USA).
“I thought it was a total team effort for our group,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol. “I did not like the way we ended the second half. Give a lot of credit to Southern Miss. They are a hard-playing team.
“I really challenged our guys [at halftime] to be more mindful of the things we want to do, play great defense, take care of the basketball and take great shots. I thought they did a much better job [in the second half] of playing with energy and grit. Seeing 21 assists is a beautiful sight to see.”
The Bulldogs finished with a season-high 21 assists and sank 11 three-pointers with 10 of those coming from Keaston Willis, David Green and Cobe Williams.
Green buried all three of his in a three-minute span midway through the second stanza, the final one forcing a timeout by the Golden Eagles as the Bulldogs had a 61-34 advantage with 8:38 to go in the game. The lead grew to 72-38 with 4:39 remaining.
USM took its only lead of the contest at 15-14, but Willis sparked a 14-0 run with two of his triples. Holding a 31-24 lead at the midway point, the ‘Dogs used a 13-0 run early in the second stanza before Green started draining three-pointers.
LA Tech shot 55.9 percent in the second half and finished at 46.2 percent for the game (30-of-65). Willis had a game-high 21 points while Green and C. Williams added 17 and 12, respectively.
USM shot 37.3 percent from the field (22-of-59) and had three players in double figures, including Tyler Stevenson who finished with a team-high 17 points.
Tech travels to Hattiesburg for a 2 p.m. tip against Southern Miss Sunday at Reed-Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss 65, Lady Techsters 60
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Despite a game-high 19 points by junior Keiunna Walker, the Lady Techsters fell to Southern Miss 65-60 on Thursday night inside the Reed Green Coliseum in Conference USA action.
The Lady Techsters fall to 8-7 on the year and 0-4 in Conference USA action with the loss, while Southern Miss improves to 10-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
A back-and-forth affair early, saw both teams traded baskets through the midway point of the opening period. Eight early points by Walker and a jumper by sophomore Anna Larr Roberson lifted Tech to a 14-10 lead with 2:58 left in the first quarter. A pair of layups in the last minute of the opening frame by Southern Miss cut Tech’s lead down to 17-16 after the first period.
Walker drained a mid-range jumper to open the second stanza, giving Tech a 19-16 advantage. Momentum changed directions moments later as Southern Miss rattled off a 9-2 run to take a 25-21 lead. Tech rallied to take the lead at 28-27 with 3:32 remaining in the first half as Roberson knocked down her first three of the season. Another jumper and a three by Southern Miss gave the Golden Eagles a 32-28 lead at the break.
Southern Miss extended their lead out to double-figures as Melyia Grayson and Macy Weaver combined on a 10-2 run to take a 42-32 lead with 6:55 left in the third period. The Lady Techsters responded with a 19-5 surge that featured baskets by six different Tech players. Back-to-back three’s by sophomore Lotte Sant and Walker as well as layups by sophomore Salma Bates and Brannon pushed Tech out in front 51-47, before taking a 52-50 lead into the fourth quarter.
Tech pushed their lead out to as many as seven at 58-51 with 6:51 left in the game on a jumper by Roberson and a layup by Walker, but Southern Miss answers with a 14-2 run over the final 6:32 of the game to claim the 65-60 victory over the Lady Techsters.
The Lady Techsters host UTSA Monday at 1 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Photo: Sadie Patton
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