Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications
Jan. 12, 2019
Bulldogs Down Blue Raiders, 73-56
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech had four players score in double figures and held a second straight opponent to under 60 total points which helped result in a 73-56 victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
The shots were falling early and often for LA Tech (13-5, 3-2 C-USA), highlighted by a stretch where they made 11 straight field goals. But the game was won on defense, forcing 17 turnovers by Middle Tennessee (3-14, 0-4 C-USA) and holding its top two scorers in check to extend the home winning streak to 10.
“We were looking for another great defensive effort,” said head coach Eric Konkol. “We were able to hold their two scoring guards to 14 combined points. That was a big, big thing for us. The defensive end was really our focus and it came through for us tonight.”
The Blue Raiders scored the first four points of the game, but the Bulldogs put together an amazing five-minute stretch after that where the defense led to the offense. The team forced five turnovers to help go on a 23-3 run with the 11 straight made field goals by seven different players.
“Getting stops was the key thing,” said guard Amorie Archibald. “Getting stops and getting out in transition was what we were able to do.”
However, the visiting team countered that in large part due to James Hawthorne who came off the bench to score seven straight points and force a timeout by LA Tech who’s lead had shrunk to 25-20 with 8:28 to play in the first half.
The lead whittled down to three late in the stanza, but junior Ra’Shawn Langston hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to make it a six-point edge for the Bulldogs at 39-33 at the midway point.
Despite being in foul trouble, sophomore Anthony Duruji was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 14 points. He quickly picked up his third foul in the second half, but LA Tech still opened things off with a 7-0 run to extend the lead back to double-digits at 47-33.
Middle Tennessee would never get it back down to single-digits. The sophomore Archibald had a lot do to with that, finishing with 15 points, seven assists and four rebounds.
“I thought Amorie played a really steady floor game tonight,” Konkol said. “We ask a lot of him. We ask him to play off the basketball and look to score. We ask him to handle the basketball. He made a lot of really nice decisions tonight.”
There was also the performance of the limited bench which combined for 25 points, including a double-double from junior Mubarak Muhammed (11 points, 10 rebounds), 10 points from Langston and quality minutes from the freshman Stacey Thomas.
“I thought Muhammed, Langston and Thomas really were important tonight,” Konkol said. “They gave us big lifts off the bench. I want to really praise Stacey Thomas. He has been staying ready and working hard every day. Sometimes, it is hard being a freshman, but he played big minutes for us and really contributed to this win.”
It was Duruji though who still led the team offensively, tallying 19 points, as the team shot 50 percent from the field (26-52) and 44 percent from three-point range (8-18).
Middle Tennessee was held to 41 percent shooting from the field (23-56) and 27 percent from downtown (6-22). Forward Reggie Scurry ended with a team-high 13 points while guard Antonio Green (came in averaging 19 points per game) was limited to 10.
LA Tech will hit the road for its next conference matchup which will take place on Thursday, Jan. 17 versus Old Dominion. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
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