Bulldogs’ Comeback Falls Short against Cajuns

Sports

Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

Dec. 12, 2017

Bulldogs’ Comeback Falls Short against Cajuns

RUSTON – Down by as much as 18 points in the game, the Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team mounted a furious comeback late in the second half but the Bulldogs ran out of time as they fell to Louisiana-Lafayette, 75-71, on Tuesday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center. 

It was a similar story to that of the last home loss.  Despite being held to a season-low 25 points in the first half, LA Tech (7-3) still shot the ball well enough to win – 50 percent from the field, 54 percent from three and 78 percent from the foul line. 

But it was committing a season-high 18 turnovers and giving up 13 offensive rebounds that cost the Bulldogs again. 

“We turned the ball over a lot offensively,” head coach Eric Konkol said.  “We got shots and were able to make them.  We’ve just got to do a better job of taking care of the ball against a little bit of pressure and a couple changes in angles – we’ve got to fix that.

“But then defensively, that’s something we’ve got to be able to hang our hat on every night, and we’re not doing that right now.  We’ve got to get better.  We’ve got to mature in that facet of being a grinding, nasty, tougher team and getting key stops.  We also need to start the game off correctly, with the type of intensity that we need.”

ULL (8-2) stormed out to a 35-17 lead with 3:18 remaining in the first stanza.  A couple of late three-pointers though by forwards Anthony Duruji and Jy’lan Washington got the deficit down to 13 going into halftime. 

Both teams basically traded baskets for the first 13 minutes of the second period with the Ragin’ Cajuns still holding on to a double-digit lead at 67-55 with 6:46 to play. 

LA Tech quickly went on a 7-0 mini-run with two made free throws and a three-pointer by Jalen Harris and a thundering dunk by Joniah White to get to within five. 

The next possession was one of a few killers though down the stretch.  The Ragin’ Cajuns got two offensive rebounds and made a layup on their third field goal attempt. 

Still with some fight left, the Bulldogs got to within one possession on three different occasions.  The final time was after White threw down another dunk to be down only 73-71 with 48 seconds remaining.

Needing a defensive stop, ULL drained the shot clock all the way down and JaKeenan Gant made a baby hook with one second left that ultimately stopped the LA Tech comeback in its tracks. 

“We’re a young team,” Konkol said.  “We’re figuring some of these things out for the first time together. We’ve got some younger guys in some expanded roles – much larger roles than they’ve been in before and more responsibility on their shoulders.  There are always positives.  There are things we can take from this.  There’s so many things we need to get better at, but there are also things we can look back at and say ‘hey, we can do this.’  We’ve just got to be more consistent.”

Three Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Harris who had a team-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting.  Guard DaQuan Bracey registered 14 points to go along with six assists and White finished with a career-tying 10 points and team-high six boards. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns were 29-of-58 from the field for 50 percent and 8-of-25 from three-point range for 32 percent.  Four of their starters reached double-digit points, led by Gant who had a game-high 22 points. 

Up next for LA Tech is a matchup versus Texas in Austin on Saturday, Dec. 16.  Tipoff is set for 1 p.m.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.

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