The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs jumped to an early double-digit lead and cruised to a 94-57 victory over the University of Central Arkansas Bears on Wednesday night at the Farris Center.
The Bulldogs (2-1), powered by outside shooting by Conway's Kenyon McNeaill, took advantage of early turnovers by the Bears (1-2) and led by as many as 18 points midway through the first half and pretty much settle things with a 47-19 advantage at halftime. The Bulldogs shot shooting 50 percent and forcing 13 UCA turnovers. The Bears shot just 7 of 26 (26.9 percent) from the field and were one of seeb from 3-point range.
“We tried to play some zone early and try to slow the game down,’ said UCA head coach Clarence Finley. “but they knocked down dome 3s and got it inside so we had get out of it. They got it up to a 16-point lead and we had to play some man and they were just too strong for us.
“And I thought their press gave us some problems. We had a freshman that didn’t get in the middle of the zone like we had worked on it and we ended up with 20-something turnovers. They were just very long and very athletic and we didn’t handle the pressure."
The Bears finished with eight 3-pointers, from five different players, but finished 21 of 60 (35 percent) from the field overall. Senior guard DeShone McClure led the way with 19 points — with a pair of 3-pointers — but also had a team-high seven turnovers. Freshman Jalen Jackson chipped in 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Bulldogs, the Western Athletic Conference champion a year ago but now a member of Conference USA, shot 26 free throws, making 21 (80.8 percent), while UCA made 7 of 12. Raheem Appleby, a junior from Jacksonville, topped Tech with 21 pionts, while McNeaill had 18, including three 3-pointers. Kenneth Smith dished out 10 assists for the Bulldogs, who had 21 total. UCA finished with 10 assists.
The Bears will hit the road for a Sunday afternoon matchup with Arkansas State in Jonesboro. Tipoff is 2 p.m. at the Convocation Center. UCA is back home hosting Troy on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.