Dunkin’ Dogs 2-0 in Puerto Rico

Bulldog head coach Talvin Hester and Co. are 2-0 in Puerto Rico after Thursday’s 87-80 win.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications 

Game 2: LA Tech 87, LPB Blue All-Stars 80 (Thursday)

The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team overcame some adversity both on and off the court on Thursday evening, pulling out an 87-80 victory over the LPB Blue All-Stars inside the Mario Morales Coliseum.

Tech is now 2-0 in Puerto Rico.

While cruising along in the charter bus on the way to the arena, a flat tire only a couple of miles from the destination derailed the team’s expected arrival time. 

Approximately 40 minutes later, another charter bus arrived on the scene to rescue the Bulldogs on the side of the road. 

Once the delayed contest was tipped, LA Tech gradually separated themselves from the LPB Blue All-Stars, going up as much as 19 points late in the third quarter.  However, the home squad chipped away in the fourth getting to within six late, but the ‘Dogs came out victorious in the second of their three exhibitions.

“We played a better team today,” said head coach Talvin Hester.  “The ball did not fall like it did yesterday even though we shot a good percentage from three, but we have to hang our hat on defense.  This opponent brought some pressure at us and we handled it decently, but we have to handle it better and limit our turnovers.  I don’t want to be here and win every game by 40.  We came here to get better as a team.  We had some situational some there at the end that we handled well.”

For a second straight day, it was Keaston Willis and Kaleb Stewart leading the charge offensively.  The duo combined for 25 points in the first half to help LA Tech produce a 45-33 lead at the midway point.

The Bulldogs extended its lead to 17 at 67-50 at the end of the third frame, never surrendering their advantage despite the 30 fourth quarter points put up by the Blue All-Stars.

“The day didn’t start out great with our bus issue,” said forward Will Allen who redshirted all last season due to a shoulder injury.  “We needed to get off to a faster start because our opponent came ready to play.  We woke up there in the second and third quarter, but let off the gas there in the fourth.  We had to dig in and play though to pull it out.

“It feels great to box somebody out that is not my teammate, helping my team by doing the little things like taking charges and getting offensive rebounds.”

Willis finished with a team-high 23 points followed by Cobe Williams with 17 and Stewart with 16.  

Game 1: LA Tech 113, LPB White All-Stars 67 (Wednesday)

The Bulldogs first took in the sights, roaming the streets of Old San Juan while learning the rich history of the U.S. territory, sneaking in some souvenir shopping, and sampling its local cuisine. 

The latter part of day two on the island was spent at the Mario Morales Coliseum where LA Tech drained 20 three-pointers in route to a 113-67 blowout victory over the LPB White All-Stars in the first of three exhibitions scheduled.

“I was happy with the team’s energy level,” said head coach Talvin Hester.  “They went out ready to play.  While I am looking forward to adding our pieces that did not play tonight in David [Green] and Isaiah [Crawford], we showed how deep we can be.  I think the strength of our team is our team.  As long as we do not have to rely on one guy, we will be a hard matchup.”

The first quarter was back and forth with neither team able to gain separation.  As a result, the two teams were knotted up at 22-22 at the end of the first 10 minutes.

The Bulldogs started to get some separation though in the second quarter, opening the stanza up on a 16-4 run and ultimately taking a 15-point edge into halftime at 49-34. 

LA Tech ran the scoring margin up even more in the third quarter, producing a 24-3 run while outscoring the home team by 20 (31-11).  The ‘Dogs added 33 more points in the fourth and final quarter.

It was balanced scoring throughout the night as five players tallied double-digit points – Kaleb Stewart (20), Keaston Willis (18), Dravon Mangum (15), Cobe Williams (15), and Terran Williams (14 all in the second half).

“This was a great experience tonight,” said T. Williams.  “There has been a lot to learn with our new coaches and to come out and see how did in a live game was great.  Energy is going to be a big key for us this season and tonight we had lots of energy.”

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LA Tech will play its third and final game of the summer tour on Friday at 3 p.m. CT versus the LPB Red All-Stars.

 


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