Louisiana Tech holds off UTSA on Saturday afternoon, 87-72
SAN ANTONIO — Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 25-point halftime lead and withstood a 15-0 run from UTSA early in the second half to take an 87-72 victory against the Roadrunners on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
Keon Lewis paced the Roadrunners (7-13, 3-4 C-USA), who saw their four-game home winning streak come to an end, with 24 points, 22 of which came in the second half. Lewis went 7-of-14 from the field to go along with two rebounds and a pair of assists. Devon Agusi added 14 points and five boards, while Edrico McGregor neared a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
After shooting just 34.4 percent in the first half, UTSA went 11-of-22 (50 percent) in the final 20 minutes and 40.7 percent on the afternoon. In addition, the Roadrunners held a 37-32 edge on the glass and collected seven steals.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs (18-5, 6-2 C-USA) placed five players in double-figures led by a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds from Chris Anderson. Kenyon McNeail hit five 3-pointers off the bench en route to 15 points and three boards.
The Bulldogs connected at a 52.5 percent clip for the game and outscored UTSA 42-28 in the paint.
Louisiana Tech led 61-34 early in the second half before the Roadrunners went on their 15-0 to get back in the game.
Lewis started the spurt with a pair of free throws before Jordan Sims sank his first 3-pointer of the contest. Lewis drove the length of the court following a Bulldogs miss and converted a three-point play before Phillip Jones found Sims for another trey.
Jones then capped the run with two freebies to pull the Roadrunners within 12, 61-49, with 14:42 to play.
The UTSA defense did its part during the run, as Louisiana Tech missed all five shot attempts and committed three turnovers before Michale Kyser found Anderson inside for a basket.
Minutes later, Lewis drove inside for a layup to trim the deficit to single-digits, 63-54, for the first time since the 13:45 mark in the first half. But each time the Roadrunners threatened, the Bulldogs found a way to score and maintain the advantage.
A Jaron Johnson dunk and triple from McNeail quieted the crowd until Jones hit two more free throws and Lewis connected on a jumper for a 68-59 margin with 9:41 to go.
However, that would be as close as UTSA could get. McNeail ended that threat with yet another trey and the Bulldogs led by as many as 17 down the stretch before taking the 87-72 final.
In a matchup of the top two scoring offenses in Conference USA play it was the Bulldogs who got hot early and shot 62.5 percent in the first half.
McGregor got the Roadrunners on the board first with a layup to provide the home squad with its only lead of the contest. A pair of buckets from Anderson put the Bulldogs ahead and after another McGregor layup pulled UTSA within 7-6, Louisiana Tech went on a 19-3 run to take control.
The fast-paced Bulldogs offense and full-court defense gave the Roadrunners trouble, forcing seven missed shots and four turnovers during the stretch.
James Williams provided a spark off the bench for the Birds with a pair of 3-pointers, but Louisiana Tech outscored UTSA 20-9 over the final six minutes of the half and took a 57-32 lead into halftime.
The Roadrunners take to the road for a pair of games next week, beginning with a 6 p.m. (CT) contest on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Old Dominion (10-11, 4-2 C-USA).