McCree, Bulldogs Bounce Back with 70-59 Win
Jan. 23, 2016
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – After scoring 14 points combined in the last two games, forward Erik McCree bounced back in a big way on Saturday night by registering 25 points and 10 rebounds as Louisiana Tech ended a two-game losing skid with a 70-59 road win over Southern Miss inside Reed Green Coliseum.
LA Tech (14-5, 3-3 C-USA) built a double-digit lead in the first half, and much like its previous outing, the opponent made a strong run in the second stanza to test the Bulldogs.
This time the ‘Dogs were up for that test. While clinging to a 54-49 lead with nine minutes to go, the LA Tech defense stymied USM (5-12, 2-4 C-USA) by holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for six minutes of action.
The lead was extended out to double digits again during the key stretch and McCree sealed it late with five made free throws and multiple defensive rebounds to give him his fifth double-double of the season.
“We had very good energy coming out in the first half,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We had a lot of contributions playing through foul trouble. In the second half, we knew we would get a run from Southern Miss. They made some contested shots even with our effort and execution. We were able to stay together and not let what has happened before get to us.
“We have talked about stringing stops together and we are really starting to embrace that defensive mentality, especially in the half court with keeping people in front of us. We did it for nine straight stops at one time. We really had a great mindset tonight to defend.”
It was Alex Hamilton who got the Bulldogs headed in the right direction to start the contest, coming up with two steals in the first three defensive possessions. He was all over the floor in other areas as well with six points, two rebounds and two assists.
That was until he got a No. 2 in the wrong statistical category – fouls. The senior picked up his second personal at the midway point of the first stanza with the Bulldogs holding a 21-13 advantage.
LA Tech was then forced to face adversity it was not familiar with this season as Hamilton sat the rest of the first half. No worries though as the Bulldogs proceeded to go on a 10-3 run.
LA Tech ended up going wire-to-wire for the victory which marked the fifth straight win over Southern Miss and the first time it has won two straight in Hattiesburg since the heated series began in 1933.
The Bulldogs ended up shooting just 20-of-53 from the field (37.7), but outrebounded Southern Miss, 42-33. Hamilton joined McCree in double figures with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. Griffin also contributed 13 points and seven boards.
The Golden Eagles shot 21-of-55 (38.2) and had four players in double figures, led by Khari Price with 17.
LA Tech returns home to host UTSA on Thursday, Jan. 28 in a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.
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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