Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications
Jan. 26, 2019
LA Tech Takes Down WKU behind Strong Second Half
RUSTON – The biggest adjustment made by Louisiana Tech at halftime was to get out and run in the second half.
And that they did, running away with a 62-50 victory over preseason favorite WKU on Saturday afternoon in front of 3,917 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
Facing a zone almost the entire game, LA Tech (15-7, 5-4 C-USA) was a little too stagnant on the offensive end in the first half which resulted in only eight made field goals and 21 points.
The defense kept them in the game though. Then came the second stanza and the Bulldogs got out in transition and had better ball movement which resulted in an offensive explosion of 41 points. And the D continued to suffocate WKU (11-10, 4-4 C-USA) who had only six made field goals in the frame.
“Our defense kept us in the game in the first half,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We struggled offensively. I thought we took it up a notch in the second half. That is what we talked about at halftime. I thought the defense we got in the second half led to some transition baskets, igniting our team and our crowd. It turned into better defense and we kept that cycle going. And of course, we attacked the zone better and got some better shots.”
The Hilltoppers had a 28-21 edge at the midway point, holding LA Tech to zero points in the final 4:35 and holding DaQuan Bracey to zero points for the entire first half.
That quickly changed in the second half as Bracey opened up the scoring with a running floater. The junior guard ended up scoring nine points during a 17-2 run that forced multiple timeouts by WKU with them trailing 40-30 and 13:42 remaining in the game.
“Coming into halftime, the coaches and my teammates kept saying that this was going to be my half,” said Bracey. “We played Dunkin’ Dog basketball which is run. As a team, we decided to pick up the speed and get out in transition.”
The Hilltoppers then turned to their freshman stud Charles Bassey and he delivered. The forward scored 11 of his team’s next 17 points to slice their deficit down to two at 49-47 at the 7:32 mark.
That would be the last field goal WKU would make.
Meanwhile, arguably the biggest basket of the game came with 4:31 to play when Amorie Archibald made his career-tying 10th assist to Ra’Shawn Langston who drained his third three-pointer of the game to push the lead up to five. He would finish with a career-high 15 points.
“The biggest key was definitely ball movement, getting the ball in the middle of the zone,” said Archibald. “We trusted each other and had fun with it.”
Another layup by Bracey, giving him a game-high 17 points (all in the second half), and free throws down the stretch sealed the win and improved the home record to 12-0 this season.
“The defense was where our focus needed to be, then we needed to run faster,” said Konkol. “We needed to use that speed to get some easy baskets. We made some adjustments on the offensive end against their zone, got a couple of buckets early in the second half that was a real jolt.”
LA Tech shot 50 percent from the field and from downtown in the second half, ultimately finishing 22-of-58 from the field and 8-of-23 from beyond the arc. Along with the backcourt trio, Anthony Duruji provided a big performance in the frontcourt with nine points, 11 points (tied career high), four blocks (career high) and two steals.
WKU was limited to 37 percent shooting from the field (16-43) and 27 percent shooting from three (4-15). Bassey led the way with 16 points.
LA Tech will now make the long road trip to take on Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Jan. 31. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT.
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