Bulldogs shoot 46 percent from downtown, defeat Southern Miss in Conference USA opener

LA Tech Bulldogs

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – It was a near complete performance for Louisiana Tech in the Conference USA opener, winning big over travel partner Southern Miss with a final score of 80-49 on Monday night inside Reed Green Coliseum.

After a slow start for LA Tech (10-3, 1-0 C-USA) – scoring just nine points in the first 12 minutes of action – the squad started draining shots. 

And that kept up for the remainder of the game, shooting 48 percent from the field and an eye-popping 46 percent from downtown with 10 made three-pointers. 

Defensively, the ‘Dogs forced 17 turnovers and turned them into 26 points (five different players recorded multiple steals).  The team also held a plus-eight rebounding margin and held Southern Miss (4-10, 0-1 C-USA) to just 35 percent shooting and zero made threes.

“I thought early on both teams were trying to feel each other out,” said head coach Eric Konkol.  “It has been a long layoff since Christmas break.  Both teams were playing hard, just without great efficiency. 

“Then, I really thought our defense sparked our offense.  We were able to get some turnovers and some runouts, and then we started to place with the pace we intended to.  That allowed us to stretch the lead out.”

LA Tech held a 31-24 lead at halftime, but they blitzed USM to start the second half by starting with a 13-0 run to quickly make it a 20-point advantage with 16:38 to play (during this stretch, the Bulldogs forced four turnovers).

Southern Miss did get some offense going, making seven of its 10 shots during a portion of the second half, to cut the deficit down to 15 with 10:48 to play. 

However, any momentum by the Golden Eagles was quickly halted and the crowd of 3,005 was silenced after that as the threes really started to rain for the Bulldogs. 

In the final 10 minutes of the game, the road team made six of their last eight three-point attempts, getting triples from Kalob LedouxDerric JeanDaQuan BraceyAmorie Archibald and even JaColby Pemberton who made his return to the court after missing the last six games due to injury.

The 31-point victory was the largest C-USA road win for Louisiana Tech and the third largest overall.  It was the biggest win over Southern Miss since 1972 and the fewest points allowed in the series since 1949.

“All conference games just count as one,” said Konkol.  “Every game is so important and winning on the road is so meaningful.  This is something we can build from, but we have a quick turnaround and we will have to face Southern Miss again on Saturday.”

Four different Bulldogs scored in double figures – Bracey (17), Ledoux (15), Archibald (12) and Jean (12).  Archibald also had a career-tying nine rebounds which was also a game-high. 

Tyler Stevenson was the lone Golden Eagle to score double-digit points with 12. 

LA Tech will now return home to take on USM inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Saturday, Jan. 4.  Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.

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