Defense Paves Way as Bulldogs Defeat Miners, 64-44

Jan. 5, 2017

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RUSTON, La. - A stingy Bulldog defense was the story of the night as Louisiana Tech (10-5, 2-0 C-USA) held UTEP (2-12, 0-2 C-USA) to a mere 44 points in a 64-44 victory on Thursday night in the Thomas Assembly Center.

The 44 points were the fewest allowed to a Conference USA opponent during the Konkol era, as the Bulldogs hadn't held a conference opponent to under 50 since February of 2015 when Louisiana Tech trounced FIU, 75-42.

Eric McCree filled the stat sheet once again with a team-high 19 points and 11 rebounds on his way to an eighth double-double in the past ten games.

"[McCree] gives you an opportunity to score in so many different ways," head coach Eric Konkol said. "He can make the three-point shot and we rolled him into the post and he scored there. He is our senior leader and he is delivering for us in both points and rebounds. He is providing a lot of energy and we certainly want him to continue to do that."

Jacobi Boykins also joined McCree in double-digits with 14 points and seven rebounds. The junior has grabbed seven or more rebounds in three consecutive games after having not accomplished the feat in the first 12 games of the season. One of the best defenders in C-USA, Boykins continues to pad his resume adding three steals to his season total 30.

The Bulldogs maintained control during the first ten minutes of the action, but the Miners slipped into their point zone which stifled the Bulldogs momentum.

A layup from DaQuan Bracey with 9:32 remaining in the first period, extended Louisiana Tech's lead to nine at 22-13, but from that point, the `Dogs would score just six points the rest of the way. Tech's only field goal over that stretch came on a corner three-ball from Derric Jean with 7:25 left.

Despite the struggles from the field, the `Dogs would take a 28-25 lead into the locker room.

"They played a zone for most of the game," Konkol commented. "It is a little bit different, it is a point zone. It has a little bit of a 2-3 and a little bit of a 1-3-1. With [Matt] Willms in the middle of it, it is hard to attack the rim. You have to keep moving the basketball. We did that fairly well. I just thought we were a little out of rhythm with the way they were jumping some of the passing lanes. I thought we got into more of a transition game in the second half and that helped us."

A three pointer from Boykins would open the scoring in the second half, on LA Tech's first possession and that trend would continue as the Bulldogs first four field goals in the stanza came from beyond the arc... each coming from a different `Dog.

The streak was broken on a midrange jumper from McCree, part of a 15-0 run stretching eight minutes midway through the second half. The Bulldogs had finally found the separation they were searching for.

While the offense was in fluid motion, the defense cranked it up another notch, holding the Miners to an abysmal 6-of-24 (25 percent) shooting in the second half.

Louisiana Tech will be back in action this Saturday against UTSA at 6 p.m. in the Thomas Assembly Center. The Roadrunners are coming off of a ... The game will be streamed live on CUSA.TV and fans can also listen to the game through the LA Tech X app or on KXKZ 107.5.




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