Owls Hit Late Three-Pointer to Down Bulldogs

Jan. 16, 2016

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Louisiana Tech played arguably its best half of basketball in the first stanza, building as much as a 24-point lead.

It was the vast opposite in the second half as Florida Atlantic stormed back to erase the deficit and hit a game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left to down the Bulldogs, 63-61, on Saturday night inside FAU Arena.

After FAU (4-14, 2-3 C-USA) took a two-point advantage with 26 seconds to go, LA Tech (13-5, 2-3 C-USA) managed to get the steal on an in-bounds play and Erik McCree hit the floater and was fouled.

The redshirt junior hit the free throw to give the Bulldogs a 61-60 lead. After a timeout by the Owls, the ball found its way to Jackson Trapp who had missed all seven shot attempts in the game.

He did not miss the eighth one though as he sank a fall-away three-pointer with a hand in his face to seal it for the home team.

“We did not get into a good rhythm in the second half,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We got in foul trouble which forced different lineups. We had a hard time scoring in the half court really the whole game. Our defense led to some really good baskets. We were not getting those stops in the second half and had a hard time scoring.

“I said in the locker room that nothing is ever won in the first half. We have been behind our fair share of times in the first half and been able to come back. You can never relax.”

Florida Atlantic got on the scoreboard first with a couple of made three throws two minutes into the contest. From there in the first stanza it was all Bulldogs in every phase of the game.

LA Tech proceeded to go on a 31-5 run over the next 13 minutes of action, capped off by an eight-foot jumper from Merrill Holden who got his first start of the season.

The Bulldogs ended up holding a 36-16 lead at intermission while holding Florida Atlantic to just five made field goals on 18 percent shooting.

With a commanding 44-23 lead, it was all downhill from there for the ‘Dogs as the Owls chipped away at the lead until coming away with the game-winner. For the second 20 minutes, it was the vast opposite with the Owls making 15-of-26, including five threes.

For the Bulldogs, they finished with a 40 percent shooting percentage (23-57) and were led by Alex Hamilton who scored a game-high 20 points.

Holden went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field for a new career high of 13 points to go along with a game-high seven rebounds. Unfortunately, the redshirt junior fouled out with 2:45 left to play after contributing a solid 28 minutes of action.

“Merrill was great tonight,” Konkol said. “I am happy for him and his performance. I know he would much rather prefer a performance like that and come away with a win. He is getting better and better. He helped us a lot tonight and we are going to need him the rest of the year.”

FAU’s Nick Rutherford and Solomon Poole registered 16 points apiece.

LA Tech concludes a three-game road stretch on Saturday, Jan. 23 when it travels to face Southern Miss. Tipoff is set for 7 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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