Guard Amorie Archibald was a perfect 4-for-4 on three-point shots in the first half Saturday night en route to a 22-point performance. Likewise, his Louisiana Tech Bulldogs teammates made it look easy in throttling the UTSA Roadrunners, 82-66.
While UTSA’s offense sputtered for most of the night, the Bulldogs sank 14 threes and shot 49 percent from the field to sweep both games from the Roadrunners in a Conference USA series at the Thomas Assembly Center in Ruston, La.
The Bulldogs jumped on the Roadrunners early for the second time in two nights. On Friday night, they pushed out to a 25-12 lead, lost some momentum and the lead in the second half and then gathered themselves for a 77-66 victory.
A night later, they surged 17-3 at the outset, held a 20-7 margin with 10:10 remaining and went on to lead the rest of the way.
Once again, UTSA’s early shooting was not great. The Roadrunners missed their first 14 of 15 attempts from the field. Finally they got it going and finished the half, 13 of 37, including 8 of 16 from three. Keaton Wallace hit three long balls in the late surge, as the Roadrunners pulled to within five at intermission.
In the second half, the Roadrunners hung around and pulled within six with 7:15 remaining on a Jhivvan Jackson three-pointer. But the Bulldogs rattled off seven points in a row at that point to take charge.
Inexplicably, UTSA’s impatience on offense fueled the surge, taking three ill-advised shots in a row, one of them leading to an Isaiah Crawford three-pointer and another setting up another Crawford bucket, this one an eight-foot, stick back off an offensive rebound.
All of a sudden, LA Tech led 68-55 with 5:20 remaining. UTSA never got closer than eight the rest of the way to remain winless on the road (0-7) this season.
Louisiana Tech played for the second straight night without its leading scorer, guard Kalob Ledoux, who sat out with an injury.
UTSA finished with a season-low 33.8 shooting from the field (22 of 65). Jackson and Wallace combined to take 40 of the shots, making only 11. Wallace finished with 22 points and Jackson 14. Jacob Germany, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, had seven points on a 3 of 8 night afield. Louisiana Tech hit 25 of 51 as a team and spread out the scoring among several players. Crawford finished with 15 points and Kenneth Lofton, Jr., a freshman from Port Arthur, produced 12. The 6-foot-7, 280-pound Lofton also pulled down 13 rebounds.
“We started the game so poorly offensively…Hung in there. Hung in there. Yeah, they were bombing in threes the whole game. Never really stopped,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast. The coach said some of Louisiana Tech’s open perimeter shots came as a result of UTSA double-teaming in the post, but others were cases where defenders “were there (in position to defend), just not aggressively enough contesting.”
After the poor start offensively, Henson said his players strung together some good possessions with ball movement. But in the second half, the decision-making was questionable. “We don’t get anything inside,” Henson said. “We can’t drive it and get fouled. That element is lacking for us. (If) we’re settling for hard, contested shots, it’s going to be rough.”
UTSA 5-8, 1-5 (7th place in the 7-team C-USA West)
Louisiana Tech 11-4, 4-2 (tied for 3rd, C-USA West)
Note: Six teams from the West and East divisions qualify for the C-USA tournament)
Southern Miss at UTSA, Friday, 6 p.m.
Southern Miss at UTSA, Saturday, 3 p.m.