ALEXANDRIA–Freshman Rodney Munson registered 12 assists en route to a record 34 assists helping the No. 20 LSUA men’s basketball team earn a 96-78 victory against the University of the Southwest on Monday evening at The Fort.
The 34 assists surpassed the 33 assists by the Generals on Feb. 7, 2019, against Our Lady of the Lake.
“We did an awesome job sharing the basketball,” LSUA Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Cordaro said. “Thirty-four assists is a record for us and it’s great to break a record like that.”
LSUA (11-2 overall, 1-0 RRAC) has won its fifth consecutive conference opener and remains perfect in home conference openers since the inception of the program in 2014-15.
It is also the 10th straight win for the Generals overall.
“With it being the beginning of conference play, I knew it was very important to win,” junior forward Joe Lewis said. “We just came out and shared the ball and kept the defensive intensity up.”
Southwest (0-6, 0-6) kept it close into the second half, cutting it to 39-34 on a Nathaniel White, Jr. 3-pointer. LSUA turned on the afterburners and turned a close game into a rout.
The Generals embarked on a 28-4 run to turn a five-point lead into a 67-38 advantage. Munson and fellow freshman Jakemin Abney combined for 18 points during that run.
In the second half, LSUA shot a blistering 64.1 percent, but it actually was outshot by USW, which shot 64.3 percent.
“We came out in the second half like the way we should have come out in the first half,” Cordaro said. “We knew Southwest was going to compete until the very end.”
The Generals expanded the lead based largely on being plus-8 in the turnover ratio.
Munson and Abney finished with 17 and 15, respectively, to lead the way.
“We did great in transition,” Munson said. “When pushing it up the court, I just look for the wide open teammate and they make a good play.”
In the first half, USW went toe-to-toe with LSUA. The Generals led for 18 minutes of the opening 20, but they could never get much breathing room. Derrick Hall scored seven of his 11 points in the first half to keep things close.
The Generals began to get a bit of separation on a 10-4 run by LSUA, which moved it out to a nine-point game at 36-27. Nashaun Ellis scored five of the 10 points during that run.
The sophomore from Rayville, La., continued his strong play in Monday night’s game with 15 points, five rebounds, five assists, five blocks and three steals. In the past three contests, he has averaged 12.3 points, five rebounds, five assists, 2.3 steals and two blocks per game.
Five players reached double figures in total, as freshman Devonte Snow and junior Joe Lewis joined the party. Lewis nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds and Snow finished with 13 on an efficient 5-of-10 shooting.
Thurbil Bile, whose brother Chudier was an All-Southland Conference standout at Northwestern State last season, dropped in 28 points to lead all scorers, 24 of which came in the second half.
LSUA forced 26 USC turnovers and turned them into 33 points.
The same two teams match up again on Saturday at The Fort. It will be the fourth of nine consecutive scheduled home games for the Generals.