Home Winning Streak Ends for Bulldogs

Jan. 7, 2016

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RUSTON – It was over two years ago the last time Louisiana Tech lost inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

That 39-game home winning streak came to an unfortunate end on Thursday night as the Bulldogs fell to Old Dominion, 56-53, in front of 4,807 fans.

LA Tech (12-3, 1-1 C-USA) could not find a rhythm on offense, finding itself down 45-36 with 9:05 to go.

There was no quit in the Bulldogs though as they locked down defensively to aid a 13-4 run of their own, capped by a driving layup by Alex Hamilton that spun around the rim twice before falling to make it a 51-49 lead with less than three minutes left.

ODU (9-6, 2-0 C-USA) swished four straight free throws and Hamilton sank a jumper which knotted the game up for a fourth time at 53-53.

However, three more makes at the foul line by ODU, coupled with two missed three-pointers and a turnover by LA Tech resulted in the home team’s lowest offensive output in a single game this season and its first loss ever at home in C-USA action.

“We lost to a good team tonight,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “I am proud of our guys for the way we battled. There were moments where it would have been easy to pack it in and say ‘Hey, they got us tonight.’ But we fought.

“I am happy with the way we defended overall and rebounded with them. We just could not get into a great rhythm offensively. Credit to them for the way they played defense. We have to bounce back. We have a big game here in two days.”

The struggles on offense mostly came from the first half when the ‘Dogs shot just 6-of-24 from the field, but they were matching ODU’s tenacity on defense as the Monarchs were only able to build a slim three-point lead at intermission.

A spark was soon started by Erik McCree who pulled down a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a one-handed slam that got the crowd on their feet.

An old-fashioned three-point play by the redshirt junior and then nothing-but-net shots by Jacobi Boykins and Dayon Griffin gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 36-30.

The Monarchs then road the backs of their backcourt, Aaron Bacote and Trey Freeman, who combined to score 11 points in what was a 15-0 run to help pick up their first road win of the season.

“I think every game we need more than one, two or three,” Konkol said. “It is not just scoring. We need a collective effort from everyone. I thought we got a great effort; our execution just needs some work against a team like this. They are a very good team. Of course, we need contributions from everybody.”

LA Tech finished the game with a 35 percent shooting percentage (18-52) and had three players in double-figures – Hamilton (15), McCree (13) and Boykins (11).

Bacote and Freeman combined to score 38 of ODU’s 56 points. The Monarchs shot 42 percent from the field (23-55).

LA Tech will look to start a new home court winning streak on Saturday, Jan. 9 when they play host to Charlotte. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.

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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