Feb. 1, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - In what was an extreme case of a tale of two halves, Chris Anderson put Louisiana Tech on his back in registering a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds to bring home the 87-72 road win on Saturday evening inside the Convocation Center.
The victory for LA Tech (18-5, 6-2 C-USA) snapped a four-game home winning streak for UTSA (7-13, 3-4 C-USA) and delivered a small payback for the conference tournament loss last season.
With Anderson notching his first career double-double, four other Bulldogs scored double figures to contribute - Kenyon McNeail (15), Jaron Johnson (11), Cordarius Johnson (11) and Alex Hamilton (10).
"We were really good in the first half, as good as we have played," said head coach Michael White. "We weren't able to maintain our focus and energy level in the first 10 minutes of the second half. I thought we finished fairly strong against a team that had a lot of momentum and that were making hard shots against our team which continued to fight.
"Chris was phenomenal. He still has areas where he can improve. If I were to grade him it wouldn't be 100, but 26 points and 11 rebounds is hard to argue with."
There was certainly no travel hangover for the Bulldogs who flew into San Antonio on Friday evening only 27 hours until tipoff would start. LA Tech sprinted out to a 26-9 lead, capped by a two-handed slam from Michale Kyser which forced a UTSA timeout.
The scoring did not stop there. The `Dogs continued to pour it on the Roadrunners in the first half going 20-of-32 from the field for 63 percent.
Anderson was doing his best Hamilton impersonation. Hamilton came in as the team's leading scorer in the last four games, but the senior forward was unstoppable in the paint, notching 14 first half points along with four boards.
Even when C. Johnson had two opportunities for three-pointers to end the stanza, Jaron Johnson came flying in for the tip-dunk to give LA Tech a 57-32 advantage at the break.
"I was obviously surprised at the lead that we had at half," said White. "I thought it would be a 40 minute dogfight, but we really shot the ball well in the first half and did a great job of defending without fouling. UTSA is tremendous at getting the ball to the rim and drawing fouls. We did a poor job of fouling at UTEP and did a better job today."
After J. Johnson flew in once more for a slam early in the second half, UTSA forced three Bulldog turnovers to aid a 15-0 run which sliced LA Tech's lead to 61-49 with 14:45 to go.
LA Tech went to Anderson to end almost a five-minute scoring drought, but the Roadrunners offensive strategy of attacking the paint much more got them to the free throw line was working. The opponent went 15-of-18 to cut the deficit to single digits.
The lead was in danger with 11:25 to go in the game, but McNeail hit the third of five three-pointers to stop the UTSA momentum and bring the edge back to 68-55.
McNeail and Anderson combined to score the team's next 17 points and the defensive stops started to come, especially with Kenneth Smith notching four steals on the day.
"Kenyon was phenomenal," said White. "We expected to see a bunch of zone and we did not see zone early. That may have been because of Kenyon's performance in here last year and they did a good job of staying attached to him for the most part. Fortunately, the few open looks that he got he was able to knock down. You always have to credit our passing ability as a team for that."
The `Dogs finished 31-of-59 from the field for 53 percent, including nine three-pointers.
UTSA was led by Keon Lewis who scored 24.
LA Tech opens up a three-game home stand on Thursday night against Tulsa. It is the annual White Out game which tips off at 8 p.m. in a nationally-televised contest on CBS Sports Network.
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