RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (11-6; 4-0 WAC) remained perfect in Western Athletic Conference play Saturday night as they blew out the visiting Fresno State Bulldogs (8-6; 1-2 WAC) in the Thomas Assembly Center 73-54 in front of a crowd of 2,860.
The Tech Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the offensive and amassed a 12-0 lead before Fresno State scored their first points with 16:23 in the first half.
“Our defensive play was tremendous,” Louisiana Tech head coach Keith Richard said. “We guarded the three-point line well in the first half which was a big key, then I knew we could we force them to put the ball on the ground. We didn’t give up lay-ups, which was good.”
Fresno State shot 0-7 from three-point land in the first half as Tech went into the halftime locker room with a 38-22 lead.
“We got off to a big start,” Richard said. “Our press really got our motor running.”
Tech’s defense held Fresno State’s two leading scorers, Ja’Vance Coleman and Quinton Hosley, to a total of only six points. They both came in tonight averaging 19.3 points per game apiece.
Fresno State could not find an answer to Tech’s offense and were only able to cut the lead to as low as seven points with 12:04 left in the game, but a 10-0 Tech run kept the counterpart Bulldogs out of reach for the remainder of the game.
Junior forward Paul Millsap led the way for Tech with 20 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high tying six blocked shots for his 56th career double-double. Junior guard Trey McDowell also came in big with 16 points and five rebounds.
“Our bench play was good,” Richard said. “McDowell played a good game, and I was happy for him. He was big for our team.”
The Tech Bulldogs are off to their best conference start since the ’84-85 season, when Tech started 4-0 in the Southland Conference. That team finished 29-3 and 11-1 in conference and went to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
“I am not amazed by our effort,” Richard said. “What has amazed me is that we haven’t shot over 42 percent in conference so far this year. We’ve had a lot more shots and chances with steals and rebounds.”
The Tech Bulldogs return to action Thursday, Jan. 18 at Utah State with the tip off set for 8:05 p.m.