Willis scores 30 as Louisiana Tech routs UTSA, 95-71

Keaston Willis scored 30 points and Cobe Williams added 19 Saturday night as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs jumped on UTSA early and cruised to a 95-71 victory in Conference USA basketball.

Willis, a sophomore transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, hit 10 of 14 shots from the field and 8 of 12 from three-point distance.

Leading by 15 points at intermission in the game played at Ruston, La., the Bulldogs kicked their offense into high gear, boosting the lead on the Roadrunners to as many as 28 with eight minutes remaining.

“Got whooped in every phase,” UTSA coach Steve Henson told the team’s radio broadcast.

As a result, Louisiana Tech made amends for a 63-60 loss at home to the UTEP Miners, while UTSA failed to capitalize on momentum from a 98-79 overtime road victory against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, with both games played Thursday night.

UTSA shot 24 percent in the first half and 41.7 percent for the the game en route to their 15th loss in their last 18 games.

In so many of their losses this season, the Roadrunners failed to get enough players involved in the scoring, and it happened again against the Bulldogs.

Center Jacob Germany produced 21 points and 10 rebounds. Gurd Dhieu Deing scored 15. But after that, there was not much production.

Isaiah Addo-Ankrah scored 21 on Thursday at Southern Miss. He was held to six against Louisiana Tech. Erik Czumbel had 16 against the Golden Eagles but was held scoreless against the Bulldogs.

Guard Jordan Ivy-Curry, coming back from an ankle injury, was also scoreless.

With the loss, UTSA fell to 0-2 against Louisiana Tech this season. LA Tech downed UTSA 79-63 on Jan. 8 in San Antonio.

First half

Louisiana Tech produced a series of highlight-reel moments in the first half, knocking down eight 3-pointers and two crowd-inspiring dunks en route to a 42-27 lead on the UTSA Roadrunners.

Willis hit five of the 3-pointers and had 17 points. Williams energized the fans with a dunk that pushed the Bulldogs to a 28-7 lead.

He came down the baseline and elevated before catching a lob from Kenneth Lofton Jr., and then slamming it. Not to be outdone, Amorie Archibald streaked downcourt on a fast break and threw down a tomahawk late in the half.

The Roadrunners were fortunate, in a sense, to be down by only 15 at halftime. They fell behind 10-0 and 18-2 in the game’s opening moments. They trailed by 21 three times before they started to attack and get to the free throw line.

Two free throws by Deing with 38 seconds left cut the lead to 40-27. For the half, the Roadrunners hit only 6 of 25 shots from the field and committed eight turnovers. Germany led the team at the break with nine points.

Records

UTSA 9-19, 2-13
Louisiana Tech 19-7, 10-4

Coming up

Feb. 24 — UAB at UTSA.
March 3 — North Texas at UTSA.
March 5 — Rice at UTSA.

Quotable

“We started the game with turnovers. They got hot right out of the gate. We wanted to open the game with a little bit of zone.

“We never even got into it, they were scoring so fast. Just a horrible start to the game, both ends of the floor,” UTSA coach Steve Henson said on the team’s radio broadcast.

Added Henson: “We dug a huge hole in both halves and got whooped in every phase. Couldn’t keep the ball in front. Couldn’t get to the three-point shooters.

“Crazy part of is that Lofton never really (got) going. You know, he had some foul trouble.

“He’s a big part of what they do. They got so many good players around him, they were able to do it on a night when it wasn’t his best night.”

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