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Men’s college basketball: LSU too much for Tech

Louisiana Tech Communications and Staff Reports

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Tigers handed the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs their first loss of the season Sunday afternoon, 86-55, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

The Tigers (3-1) outscored the Bulldogs, 43-24, in the first half and never allowed LA Tech (3-1) to get closer than 14 points in the second half before pushing their way to the final margin.

Five players were in double figures for LSU with Trendon Watford  hitting 10-of-12 from the free throw line in scoring 18 points while Javonte Smart had 16 points with four treys and Cameron Thomas had 16 as well.

Darius Days added 12, hitting three first half treys that helped propel LSU to the big lead, while Jalen Cook came off the bench to get 10. 

Kenneth Lofton Jr. led LA Tech with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Not much was falling for LA Tech, which struggled on the offensive end.  Whether it was a three, a layup attempt at the rim or a free throw, the frustration mounted as the team shot just 29 percent from the field and 17 percent from beyond the arc. 

On the other side, LSU came into the game ranked fifth in the country in offensive efficiency and they proved that ranking right.  The Tigers were stellar in all facets, shooting 54 percent from the field and 40 percent from deep while also making 26 free throws.

“We came in with the mindset of trying to keep them out of the paint, hoping that we would then keep them off the foul line,” said head coach Eric Konkol.  “We could get some traps and try to keep it out of Watford’s hands.

“They got it going from three early.  They really stretch you and when they do it causes you to start doing other things.  That opened up the floor for them to get to the point, go to the foul line a lot and they just really steamrolled from there.”

The second three-point attempt by the Bulldogs was sank by Exavian Christon, tying it at 8 early in the contest.  However, Days countered with back-to-back threes of his own. 

LA Tech would miss eight of its next nine three-pointers in the half while LSU drilled seven of its 11 attempts from deep. 

The Bulldogs also had eight turnovers, but the bright spot was the big freshman Lofton, who came off the bench to bully his way to 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first period alone. 

Things finally started to click offensively for LA Tech for a small stretch in the second half after seeing the ball go through the net with back-to-back threes at the hands of Jace Bass and Amorie Archibald. 

Cobe Williams soon followed with a three and a driving layup for five quick points.  The deficit was sliced to 57-43 with 10:08 still to go in the game.  But the Tigers followed with eight straight points in less than 90 seconds to put the game out of reach for the visiting Bulldogs.

Lofton played just eight minutes in the second half due to an injury he suffered during the period.  It marked his second straight double-double. 

“He continues to grow,” said Konkol. “He’s got some quick hands and feet.  He’s gaining experience with every game. He is a guy we can throw it to down in the post and we have to continue to find ways to find him.  It was challenging with the way LSU was defending him, but he found ways to get on the glass and score and that is what you want your big guys to do.”

He was the lone Bulldog to score in double figures, this after LA Tech had at least four players notch double-digit points in each of its first three games.

LA Tech returns home to face Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, Dec. 9.  Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

— Featured photo by Kourtney Carroll

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