LA Tech hoops weekend wrap; Techsters home tonight

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Lady Techsters 81, FIU 62

RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters have now won five of their last six, including three in a row, with an all-around performance to beat Florida International 81-62 inside the Thomas Assembly Center in front of a pinked-out crowd Saturday afternoon. 

The 19-point win is the largest margin of victory for the Techsters this season in conference-USA play and the 81 points is also their highest point total versus C-USA opponents.

Florida International (11-9, 3-6 C-USA) took an early 2-0 lead on their first possession of the game but after back-to-back buckets from Salma Bates and Anna Larr Roberson, LA Tech (13-8, 5-5 C-USA) took absolute control and never looked back. 

Tech spent the next six minutes enjoying a 16-3 run to take a 16-5 lead with 3:42 in the first quarter thanks to a quick six points from Bates, who finished the night with 13 points and five assists. 

After a slow start, Keiunna Walker got going in the second quarter to score eight of her game-high 22 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting from the floor. 

The Techsters closed out the half with a 9-1 run over the final 2:16 capped off by a Robyn Lee three-pointer to take a 40-27 lead into the break. 

LA Tech continued to impress building their largest lead of the game to 27 (65-38) with 3:19 left in the third on their way to a to a 25-point quarter. 

Amaya Brannon scored nine of her career-high 17 points in the quarter to go along with 11 more from Walker as Tech took a 65-40 lead into the fourth. 

Brannon also finished one rebound off her career-high with eight. 

To go along with Walker, Brannon, and Bates, Anna Larr Roberson also scored in double figures for the 14th straight time this season finishing with 13 points and 7 rebounds. 

The Techsters host UTEP tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center.

LA Tech 86, FIU 82

MIAMI – In an extreme tale of two halves, Louisiana Tech held off FIU on Saturday night in an 86-82 victory inside the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.

Both teams struggled to score in the first half as LA Tech (17-6, 8-3 C-USA) held a 30-25 advantage over FIU (13-10, 3-7 C-USA) at the midway point.

The game completely flipped in the second half.  It was like playing NBA Jam on Nintendo and the ball was on fire.  For both teams.

“It was an amazing game,” said Tech head coach Eric Konkol.  “hat a tale of two halves.  It was such a grinder in the first half when I thought we played really good defense and made things difficult for FIU.  I thought in the second half we played pretty solid defense.  I just thought that the shot-making from FIU and us was at another level.  The ball felt like it was on fire for both teams.  So many guys contributed for us.  This was a big-time win.”

But, every time the Panthers drained a shot from 25 feet out or got an alley-oop dunk to ignite the crowd, the Bulldogs had an answer.  When the Panthers cut it to one at 49-48, Keaston Willis and David Green answered with back-to-back threes.

When FIU cut it to within one point again at 62-61, it was Kenneth Lofton, Jr. who had the answer this time.  He sparked a quick 8-0 run to force the home team to call a timeout.

FIU made another run, and another, and another, cutting the deficit to one yet again at 80-79 with 45 seconds left.  But it was Junior again who finished with an old-fashioned three-pointer play to go back up four.  And in a half that have very little defensive stops, the Bulldogs got a couple of them in the closing seconds – steal by Exavian Christon and Junior pulling down his 13th rebound on the other.

LA Tech needed 56 second-half points to come away with its first victory at FIU since 2000.  They shot 63 percent in the second stanza and 47.5 percent for the entire game.  Lofton, Jr. and Archibald both scored a team-high 21 points followed closely by Willis who had 19. 

FIU shot 62.9 percent in the second half and 50.0 for the entire game, getting double-digit scoring by four different Panthers.  Eric Lovett scored a game-high 25 points.

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