Team Effort by Bulldogs Leads to 97-88 Win over Miners

Jan. 6, 2018

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RUSTON – It was a total team effort by the Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team on Saturday night as they put an end to its three-game losing skid by having six Bulldogs score in double figures which led to a 97-88 victory over UTEP in front of 3,654 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

What made the scoring output even more impressive for LA Tech (10-7, 1-3 C-USA) was playing with just eight players as two regular starters DaQuan Bracey and Joniah White were not available.

The Bulldogs ended up getting major contributions from all eight with guard Derric Jean scoring a season-high 20 points to lead the team, followed closely by forward Jy’lan Washington who came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points (15 in the first half alone).

Two other ‘Dogs posted career highs in scoring as well – the two freshmen Amorie Archibald and Anthony Duruji registered 15 and 13 points, respectively. The other two with double-digit points were guard Jacobi Boykins with 14 and forward Oliver Powell, making his first career start, with 11.

“I’m so proud of our young guys, especially with not having DaQuan and Joniah, guys that have started really every game this year,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “The youthful lineups that we had out there tonight and the way they were able to play together with great cohesiveness, especially on the offensive end, was great to see.

“Defensively, we have got a lot to work on, but those guys really played for each other tonight and unselfishly got great shots. To have that type of balance, with six guys in double figures, is really remarkable.”

It was a roller coaster of a first half with four ties and 12 lead changes. UTEP (6-10, 1-3 C-USA) had a 38-33 edge with 2:15 to play before intermission, but LA Tech closed out it with a 9-0 run that got started with a Washington triple and finished with a Duruji put-back slam.

LA Tech was incredible on offense to start the second half, making its first eight shot attempts with the last one being a corner three-pointer by Boykins to grab their largest lead of the game at 61-48 with 15:10 to go.

The Miners were just as incredible on offense, making 14 three-pointers on the night which allowed them to hang around the entire second stanza.

In the end, the Bulldogs had to put the game away by converting from the foul line. With a little over five minutes to go and holding on to a 10-point lead, their next 14 points came from free throws.

The dagger though came with 22 seconds left when Jean broke that streak by nailing a three-pointer from the wing.

LA Tech ended up shooting 56 percent from the field (30-54), 53 percent from three-point range (9-17) and 76 percent from the charity stripe (28-37). It was the most offensive production from the frontcourt this season with the trio of forward combining for 43 points.

“They really played bigger than themselves,” Konkol said about the forwards. Oliver did a great job on (Matt) Willms – put him in foul trouble offensively, but really battling him on the other end to limit some of those opportunities was big.

“I am really happy for Jy’lan Washington who had not been shooting it as well as he has in the past, but really got into a great rhythm tonight. Anthony Duruji is growing. He is a freshman who is growing in front of our eyes and doing some things and starting to figure some things out. This was a good step for him.”

UTEP’s shooting numbers were even better, going 31-of-55 from the field for 56 percent and 14-of-22 from three for 64 percent. Isiah Osborne and Omega Harris led the way with 25 and 21 points, respectively.

Next up for LA Tech is a road trip to take on the defending C-USA champions Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT and will be nationally-televised on the CBS Sports Network.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) and Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.

 

 

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