SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Kenneth Lofton, Jr. recorded a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds and Louisiana Tech went a perfect 13-of-13 from the foul line, including four big makes in the final 10 seconds, to come away with a 78-75 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday inside the Leavey Center.
Lofton was a game-time decision to play in the game due to injury. But the power forward made the start and was unstoppable yet again in registering his second 30-point, 10-rebound game in the past week.
LA Tech (6-2) took its first lead with 9:10 to go in the first half and held it until Santa Clara (6-3) clawed back to tie it up at 66-66 with 2:47 to play.
Lofton then took over, scoring the Bulldogs next eight points including an emphatic two-handed slam dunk to give the visitors a 74-69 edge with 22 seconds to go.
The Broncos would not go away though as Keshawn Justice hit a tough 3-pointer on the ensuing play to get them back to within two. The home squad was then forced to foul to put LA Tech on the free-throw line, which is where Cobe Williams hit nothing but net on both attempts on the 1-and-1.
Amorie Archibald did the same to give the Bulldogs a 78-75 lead with two seconds remaining. Justice attempted a game-tying three that was off target, giving LA Tech its second road win of the season.
The ‘Dogs got down 15-7 early, but ended up using a 10-0 run to help open up a 29-21 lead. They ended up taking a 33-32 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
“We talk about being gritty and tough and we were that today,” said Tech coach Eric Konkol. “After the crazy travel day we had yesterday and not being able to practice. The guys showed a lot of mental toughness, making big shots down the stretch. It was a very physical game. Santa Clara worked with a lot of different speed and length to try to keep the ball out of the paint, but Junior finished so many players. His teammates kept looking for him and did a great job.”
Santa Clara came into the game ranked top 15 in the country in field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. LA Tech limited them to 41 percent shooting from the field and 27 percent from deep on their home floor. Jalen Williams recorded 28 points and Justice had 14.
The Bulldogs shot 42 percent (29-of-69) and made seven of their 22 3-point attempts, three coming from Exavian Christon who finished with a season-high nine points.