Dominant Second Half Propels Bulldogs Over North Texas, 81-57
Jan. 21, 2017
RUSTON, La. - The Mean Green hung around for 20 minutes, but that was all they could muster as Louisiana Tech (14-6, 6-1 C-USA) used a second half run to put things away in a 81-57 win over North Texas (6-13, 0-7 C-USA) on Saturday night in the Thomas Assembly Center.
A 24-3 run spanning just under seven minutes early in the second half, was the deciding factor in the dominating effort from the Bulldogs.
"I give North Texas a lot of credit," head coach Eric Konkol said. "I thought they played hard, fast and tough. They showed some great toughness playing with a smaller lineup. They really gave us some trouble early. I just challenged our guys at halftime to play faster and tougher. I thought we were not as sharp and not working as hard, as well as a little bit on our heels. I think that was the difference and we just came out with a lot more pop [in the second half.]"
A back-and-forth first half featured five ties and eight lead changes, as well as a barrage of three-point shots from the Bulldogs.
Louisiana Tech led by as much as six in the first half, after DaQuan "DayDay" Bracey scored eight straight by himself to give the Bulldogs a 22-16 lead with nine minutes left in the frame.
North Texas fought back though and even held a lead late in the half, but a three-pointer from Jacobi Boykins on the Bulldogs last possession of the half, sent LA Tech into the locker room with a 33-30 lead.
North Texas would not lead again, as the closest they would get is 40-37 just two and a half minutes into the second period. Then came the 24-3 run.
The run wasn't powered by a lone hot-hand either as seven different Bulldogs contributed in the scoring during that stretch.
When the dust settled, the Bulldogs found themselves ahead 64-40 and North Texas was never able to get even within 20 points the remainder of the way.
A baby hook from Joniah White with 3:48 left in the game gave Louisiana Tech their largest lead of the night, 29, at 77-48. Twice LA Tech got the lead back to 29 on free throws from Boykins and Jalen Harris.
The Mean Green would score the final five points of the contest but it was much too little, much too late as the Bulldogs held an 81-57 lead when the final horn sounded.
Two Bulldogs registered double-doubles, most notably, Jacobi Boykins whose game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds gave him his first double-double of his career. Erik McCree scored 14, while grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds, including 11 in the first half alone.
"They are two of our upperclassmen that we count on a great bit, both inside and outside and from their defense," Konkol continued. "Both guys getting ten rebounds was huge and something that we have been challenging Jacobi to do, to help us on the backboard. He gets blocks. He gets steals. He is a tremendous defense. Erik has been doing it on the backboard all year, as well. Those two guys have been leaders for us and we certainly expect and count on their production."
Boykins, whose 10 rebounds was a career high, also nabbed three steals in the win, which gives him a steal in six straight games.
DayDay continues to shine for the Bulldogs, as the freshman had another highlight-filled night dropping 17 points to go along with seven assists.
Louisiana Tech will take its four-game win streak on the road for a two-game conference swing, the toughest road swing of the season for the Bulldogs. On Thursday, Jan. 26, the Bulldogs will travel to Birmingham, Alabama to battle UAB who currently sits at 5-2 in Conference USA play. The game will be televised on the American Sports Network.
Thursday night's game will be followed by a showdown in Murfreesboro, Tennessee between the Bulldogs and Middle Tennessee who is currently undefeated in C-USA. Tipoff for that match is set for 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN3.
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