Dogs use next-man-up mentality to down Warhawks

Kenny Hunter slams home two of hits 10 points in Tech’s win over ULM Monday night. (photo by Josh McDaniel)

Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

The “next man up” mentality was on display Monday night as Louisiana Tech had five players score in double figures, leading to a 79-58 victory over ULM inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

LA Tech (2-2) started the game minus three critical players – Cobe Williams, Kaleb Stewart, and David Green – for various reasons. It created an opportunity for new players to step up in their place. And that they did.

Quandre Bullock, Terran Williams, and Kenny Hunter came off the bench to tally 32 combined points (each scoring double digits). Keaston Willis fought through first-half foul trouble to notch 13 points. And Isaiah Crawford did a little bit of everything, registering a team-high 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals.

“I felt like we got deeper as a team tonight,” said head coach Talvin Hester. “I built some trust in some other guys, to make plays for us, to defend. We want to keep building on that. I want the strength of our team to be our team. I am excited about what we did right tonight. There are things we did wrong like our turnovers, but I think this team is mature enough to keep getting better.”

Neither team gained separation early in the game. That was until the Bulldogs used the three ball to go on an 11-0 run – one from Willis and two from Bullock – to build a 27-13 lead. That advantage was short-lived as ULM (2-3) countered with an 11-0 run of its own to bring it back to a three-point contest.

An offensive rebound and putback by Hunter snapped the run and led to LA Tech closing out the stanza on an 8-1 run to make it 35-25 at halftime.

Five quick points out of the break by Dravon Mangum made it 40-25, forcing a timeout by the Warhawks. The visiting team got the deficit back into single digits at 40-31 with 17:03 to play, but an isolation layup by Isaiah Crawford followed by triples from Willis and Williams pushed it out to a 17-point lead.

LA Tech ended up making 10 of their last 13 field goal attempts while winning the battle of the boards, 42-25, to keep ULM from getting back into the game, ultimately picking up their 10th straight win over their I-20 neighbor.

“Rebounding was the key,” said Hester. “I thought we were not good rebounding at Texas Tech, and I thought we lost the game at UL-Lafayette because of rebounding down the stretch. We had some tough practices, focusing on rebounding, and we ended up outrebounding ULM, 42-25. I think this team is showing that when we really work on something, we get better at it. We are maturing and growing as a team.”

The Bulldogs shot 47.4 percent from the field (27-57), 34.8 percent from deep (8-23), and 89.5 percent from the foul line (17-19). The Warhawks managed just 20 made field goals, 11 of those coming from beyond the arc. Tyreke Locure had a game-high 18 points.

Tech improved to 56-36 all-time against ULM. The Bulldogs face Alabama A&M Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Huntsville.