Courtesy – latechsports.com
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech overcame foul trouble and uncharacteristic turnovers to be up by one with four seconds to go, but North Texas hit a running floater at the buzzer to take the 51-50 victory on Saturday inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
LA Tech (13-5, 4-2 C-USA) dug itself a big hole, committing 12 turnovers in the first half which put the Bulldogs down nine at the break.
However, they locked down North Texas (11-8, 5-1 C-USA) in the second half and ended up having a 50-49 lead after a driving layup by Amorie Archibald with five seconds remaining.
After the missed free throw on the and-one opportunity, the Bulldogs still had two fouls to give and were able to run some time off the clock by using them. Then Javion Hamlet received the in-bounds pass with four seconds remaining and ended up making just his second field goal of the game.
Despite it taking several minutes for the referees to review the play, they ultimately decided that the basket was good before the clock expired.
“We got off to a poor start,” said head coach Eric Konkol. “We scratched and clawed and did everything we could to dig ourselves out of a hole. Not turning the ball over is something we have been good at all season long. You have to give North Texas credit for the way they defended. At the same time, we needed to do a better job of taking care of the basketball.
LA Tech was down by as much as 13 in the first half. And then were still down double-figures at 37-25 with 18:08 remaining in the second stanza, but that’s when Archibald provided a much-needed spark and the junior connected on three straight three-pointers to slice the deficit down to three.
“Amorie really carried us in the second half,” said Konkol. “We were looking for someone to get free and find some open areas. He did and rose up by hitting three three’s. It ignited us.”
Archibald’s fifth triple came with 9:12 to go and it gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 44-43. The lead increased to 46-43 after an offensive rebound and putback by Mubarak Muhammed.
From then on though, the ‘Dogs missed eight straight field goals which allowed the Mean Green to hang around long enough and ultimately hand LA Tech its first home loss of the season.
“It was one of those games where both teams were having a hard time scoring,” said Konkol. “We kept trying to be aggressive. The dribble lanes were not all there and the times we did get there, we weren’t able to convert the way we normally do.”
Archibald finished with a game-high 17 points. Muhammed totaled six points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Derric Jean played a huge role as well, recording seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.
Umoja Gibson and Zachary Simmons were the only Mean Green players in double figures with 15 and 12, respectively.
LA Tech will now head back out on the road for its next conference game which takes place on Thursday, Jan. 23 at Middle Tennessee. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.
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