Bulldogs Break Super Pit Curse with Victory
Feb. 23, 2017
DENTON, Texas -- After suffering losses each of the last two seasons to North Texas at the Super Pit, Louisiana Tech was able to break the curse on Thursday night as the Bulldogs downed the Mean Green by a score of 85-67.
With the win, LA Tech (21-8, 13-3 C-USA) extended its season-best winning streak to seven while also securing a first round bye in the C-USA Tournament for a fourth straight year.
"We are happy to come out of here with a win," head coach Eric Konkol said. "It was not without a great effort because we got one from North Texas. They had been playing very well. They were mixing up defenses and it just took us time to get into a rhythm. Give our guys a lot of credit for staying together, both offensively and defensively, finding ways to get stops and scores."
Both teams got off to fast starts. For the Bulldogs, it was Jacobi Boykins who hit two early three-pointers and a jumper for their first eight points. For North Texas (8-19, 2-13 C-USA), they made five of their first six shots.
The score was tied up at 18-18 midway through the first half and that is when the scoring stalled for LA Tech. They made only four points over the next seven minutes of action, allowing the Mean Green to go on a run and grab a 29-22 advantage.
It was then that the `Dogs went into a 1-3-1 zone and completely changed the game.
Three straight steals turned into three straight field goals. Eventually, the game got knotted up for an eighth time at 32-32 at intermission.
LA Tech stayed in the zone, getting stops on the defensive side of the ball, which turned into good offense. The Bulldogs exploded in the second half, pouring in 53 points while shooting 55 percent from the field in the stanza.
"I thought the zone was so important for a lot of reasons," Konkol said. "It was a way to stop their break because their guards are so good out in front and penetrating. It was a way for us to corral the ball. Second, I thought when we got stops and rebounds, we were able to get out and run. That is what we wanted to do. That is what we talked about at halftime, trying to get easy baskets."
The team ended up shooting 44 percent from the field as well as 84 percent from the foul line, making 16-of-19. Four players scored in double figures, led by junior Jacobi Boykins who had 22 while making four three-pointers.
On defense, LA Tech came up with a season-high 12 steals (forcing 19 turnovers) and rejected eight shots, seven of which came from the 7-footer Joniah White which was a new career high for the sophomore. The center also had a team-high eight rebounds in just 20 minutes of action off the bench.
"He was terrific," Konkol said. "In that 1-3-1, he is called the protector. He altered and swatted shots. He came up with rebounds. He was huge tonight."
North Texas (8-10, 2-13 C-USA) was limited to just 38 percent shooting from the field. They had three players with double-digit points, led by AJ Lawson who had 15.
Next up for LA Tech is a trip to Houston to take on the Rice Owls on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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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