Bulldogs Steamroll Herd in 81-57 Victory

Jan. 31, 2015

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RUSTON - Louisiana Tech faced their largest home deficit of the season nine minutes into the game, down 22-9, but the Bulldogs would use the final 11 minutes of the first half to not only make up the difference, but pull ahead by double-figures at the half.

Despite early struggles, LA Tech (17-5; 8-1 C-USA) maintained a comfortable second half lead to defeat Marshall (6-16; 2-7 C-USA) 81-57 on Saturday evening in the Thomas Assembly Center in front of a crowd of 4,731.

Through eight minutes of action, LA Tech had committed four turnovers while Marshall had committed zero. The Herd used an 18-2 run to take a 22-9 lead with 11:52 to go in the first half, the largest deficit the Bulldogs have faced at home all season.

The final 11 minutes of first half action was completely different. On defense, the Bulldogs forced 10 turnovers and allowed just one made field goal by Marshall. On offense, they made seven of their last eight shots to go on a 35-8 run and grab a 44-30 halftime advantage.

"It was like two totally different games," head coach Michael White said. "It was odd and hats off to our guys for picking up their defensive energy level and finding ways to create turnovers. That got our crowd involved in the game to help get us over the hump offensively."

The energy on defense carried over to the second half when the Bulldogs forced a turnover on Marshall's first possession that resulted in a fast break dunk from Michale Kyser. It took Marshall four minutes to score a field goal to start the second stanza and when they did, Bulldogs had already increased their lead to 22 points.

The Bulldogs bench had to step up when Kyser, Erik McCree and Alex Hamilton were all forced to sit with three fouls. Answering the call were freshmen Xavian Stapleton and Jacobi Boykins who provided a defensive spark while also combing to score 19 points off of the bench.

"I thought the highlight of our bench was not only the shots made by Stapleton and Boykins, but more importantly, the plays they made on the defensive end," White said. "They were just flying around and producing some of the heat that we gave to Marshall, which was much needed. I thought Stapleton and Boykins used their speed and quickness and played with a very high energy level, as high as we have seen out of those two freshmen."

With nine minutes remaining in the second half, Marshall cut the deficit to 11 on a jump shot from Ryan Taylor. The Bulldogs responded with an 18-5 run to end the game.

"Considering the effort that was laid between the lines on Thursday night and what an emotional win it was, I am proud of the effort," White said. "To be able to put together this effort 44 hours after such an emotional win is definitely a positive, led by our veterans."

With the victory, LA Tech remains in a tie atop the Conference USA standings with Western Kentucky, who defeated Southern Miss this afternoon.

LA Tech returns to the court on Thursday, Feb. 5 when they take on UAB in Birmingham. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

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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