RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs closed the chapter of last season with a pregame ring ceremony and banner unveiling in honor of the 2012-13 Western Athletic Conference regular season championship.
One chapter did continue on Wednesday night though as LA Tech won its 19th straight game in the Thomas Assembly Center, overpowering Centenary, 106-59, in front of 3,942 fans.
The Bulldogs had seven players score in double-figures in what was the 152nd meeting between the two schools, led by Cordarius Johnson who registered his first career double-double with 20 points and a career-high 10 rebounds coming off the bench.
“Our focus and our discipline were a little bit better,” said head coach Michael White comparing tonight’s game with the season opening loss at Saint Mary’s. “I thought we made better decisions tonight. We fouled less and converted from the foul line. We just looked like more of a posed team playing at home.
“We got out of our press in the second half and we were able to get some stops in the half court. At least we were able to improve in that facet, but a lot of that is a credit to Centenary. They are tough and disciplined. I thought they did a good job of attacking our pressure with sound decisions.”
LA Tech (1-1) came out firing, opening up with a 10-0 lead, including back-to-back three-pointers by Chris Anderson and Raheem Appleby.
That would not be the only run the Bulldogs would go on offensively in the first half. They later put together runs of 8-0, 15-2 and a 9-0 run which took only 54 seconds, thanks to three consecutive forced turnovers, to give the ‘Dogs a 41-17 advantage.
Despite turning the ball over 11 times, resulting in 21 first half points for Tech, Centenary’s (0-1) Jonathan Blount scored 15 of the Gents 39 first half points to keep them in the ball game, down 63-39 at the break.
The Bulldog defense clamped down on CC in the second half though, limiting Blount to only one point and the Gents to just 20 total the rest of the way due in large part to Michale Kyser and his career-high nine blocks.
The offensive execution improved as well with an efficient second half of shooting 16-of-28 from the field.
The Bulldogs had an 11-0 run, capped by a three from the right wing by Cordarius Johnson and then a steal by the senior who took it coast-to-coast for a monster one-handed slam, forcing a Centenary timeout with the team up 85-49 with 11:21 remaining.
The lead would peak just before the whistle sounded with a 15-foot jumper by Jaron Johnson, making his first career start of the night, as LA Tech defeated the in-state foe.
Anderson (18), Appleby (13), Kenyon McNeail (11), Gilbert Talbot (11) and Jaron Johnson (10) recorded double-digit scoring games.
With Kenneth Smith out of the lineup due to injury, Alex Hamilton ran the point to the tune of 13 points and a career-high 11 assists, registering his first career double-double.
“I thought Alex was just okay at times defensively and he knows that, but offensively, man is he talented,” said White. “He just has the ability to get himself or other guys’ shots just about any time he wants.
“We are a team that is going to play nine or ten guys. We need guys to come off the bench and score for us and be ready.”
Also scoring in double digits for the Gents, along with Blount, was Brooks Pawsat who added 11 points.
LA Tech’s next action comes Wednesday, Nov. 20, when the Bulldogs travel to take on Central Arkansas in a 7 p.m. contest.
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