By Kane McGuire (LA Tech Athletic Communications)
RUSTON, La (LA Tech Athletic Communications) – After struggling to make perimeter shots in the last few games, Louisiana Tech erupted for a season-high 14 three-pointers in route to an 82-66 victory over UTSA on Saturday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
Among those draining threes was senior Amorie Archibald who continued his impressive play, burying five triples to help reset his season-high with 22 points as LA Tech (11-4, 4-2 C-USA) got the two-game sweep over UTSA (5-8, 1-5 C-USA).
“We settled in defensive and got some key stops,” said head coach Eric Konkol. “We rebounded the basketball well again. And with us making 10 threes in the first half, I thought we needed to get the ball in the paint more in the second half. We needed to work inside out. We were able to do that and finish the game.”
The Bulldogs came in having not made more than five threes in any of their last four games. They quickly matched that in the first 10 minutes of the game. Archibald, JaColby Pemberton, Cobe Williams and Xaiver Armstead each teed one up from deep to help LA Tech jump out to an early 17-3 lead.
“We have not been shooting a good percentage from three,” said Konkol. “I didn’t take we were taking great ones. A lot of it is the defense and how they defend you. We spent a lot of time talking about getting the ball and then attacking the double team.
“I give UTSA a lot of credit, they are fast and physical. But, we did a much better job of spacing the floor and delivering good passes to guys that were ready to shoot.”
Much like last night, the Roadrunners started ice cold. They made just one of their first 15 shots, but just like last night, they eventually heated up. And the heat was coming from the beyond the arc as well as they knocked down eight first-half three-pointers, slicing the deficit down to 39-34 at halftime.
There were not as many fireworks in the second half as fouls mounted and the teams were trading free throws for the most part. UTSA was hanging around, down just 63-55 with 6:56 to play, but Isaiah Crawford drilled one from NBA range and followed that up with a jumper in the paint to force a timeout by the Roadrunners.
With LA Tech up 73-63 and 1:29 still to go, the dagger came from Christon who sank the team’s 14th triple out of the corner. The 14 threes was the most by the ‘Dogs in a single game since 2018 and is tied for the fifth most ever. They ended up shooting 53.8 percent from long range (14-26).
“I came into the weekend just wanting to play my game,” said Archibald. “We knew we had a very good team coming in and two very good scorers. I wanted to keep playing aggressive and try to make the right plays.”
Crawford ended up scoring 15 points to go along with a season-high eight rebounds. And Kenneth Lofton, Jr. registered his third double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 13 boards.
Defensively, LA Tech held UTSA to a season-low 33.8 percent shooting from the field. The dangerous scoring combo of Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace combined for 36 points, but were 11-of-40 shooting the basketball.
Next up for LA Tech is the long trek to El Paso, Texas to take on the UTEP Miners. Game one of the two-game series will take place on Friday, Jan. 22 with tipoff set for 8 p.m. CT.