Bulldogs Defeat Roadrunners for Third Straight C-USA Road Win
Jan. 10, 2015
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Raheem Appleby is certainly making his presence known in Conference USA after missing most of the inaugural season last year due to an ankle injury.
The senior guard led Louisiana Tech in scoring for the third straight game, notching a game-high 25 points to help the Bulldogs get their third straight league road win in an 84-72 victory over UTSA on Saturday evening in the Convocation Center.
Appleby is now averaging 25.7 points per game in league play and needed just six points today to become the 15th Bulldog in program history to eclipse 1,500 career points.
He needed only nine made field goals (9-of-16) to record his sixth 20-plus game, including five three-pointers. LA Tech (12-4, 3-0 C-USA) as a team was 29-of-53 (55 percent) from the field and 12-of-22 (55 percent) from beyond the arc, scoring a season-high 51 points in the second half.
"I thought our defensive effort was really good in the second half," head coach Michael White. "It was not great, but very good. I saw glimpses of what I saw Thursday night. I thought we rebounded defensively better and just showed more physical toughness in the second half.
"Then I thought we had to step up and make some pretty impressive plays offensively to beat UTSA who is much improved. I just thought Raheem [Appleby] made some really big plays offensively. Jacobi Boykins made some big plays offensively. And we did just enough defensively to really allow those two guys, along with Erik McCree, to win us the game."
Appleby made the Bulldogs first seven points in the game, but UTSA (7-7, 2-2 C-USA) took a 10-7 lead early with all 10 points coming in the paint.
The Bulldogs were still down by three points, 24-21, after two made free throws by the Roadrunners Keon Lewis, but then McCree and Alex Hamilton hit back-to-back three-pointers to spark a 10-2 run to take their largest lead of the game thus far, 31-26.
The Roadrunners then used the free throw line to get them back into the game, tying it up for the fourth time, 31-31, on five consecutive makes at the charity stripe.
After Appleby found a crease through traffic to hit an eight-foot jumper to give the Bulldogs a two-point lead, UTSA hit a three-pointer with just three seconds on the lock to give the home team a 34-33 advantage at halftime.
LA Tech quickly took the lead back on its first offensive possession of the second stanza and led 42-41 with 16:54 to go before going on 13-3 run to snag the first double-digit lead.
The Bulldogs never relinquished the lead, but needed timely shots from Boykins and Appleby to do so. After the Roadrunner's Jeromie Hill hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to seven, 60-53, Boykins responded with a corner three.
Later on, the `Dogs were on a four-minute scoring drought and the advantage was back down to single digits again, 69-60. However with the shot clock winding down Appleby tried to draw contact on a three-pointer attempt but instead hit the off-balance shot to silence the crowd.
"It was one of those days where we never got into a great defensive rhythm, and even offensively it was less of us doing a great job of executing because UTSA kept switching back and forth between two pretty good zones," White said. "It was more of individuals stepping up and hitting big shots for us."
McCree finished with 16 points, 11 in the second half, and a team-high nine rebounds. Hamilton also had 16 points while Boykins finished with a career-high 13.
UTSA ended the game shooting 40 percent from the field (26-of-65). Hill led the Roadrunners with 24 points.
LA Tech returns home to take on UAB on Thursday, Jan. 15 with tipoff set for 7 p.m. The matchup will be televised live on the American 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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