Bulldogs Hang On for 85-75 Victory over Roadrunners

Jan. 28, 2016

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RUSTON – All five Louisiana Tech starters scored in double figures, led by senior Alex Hamilton who registered his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 assists as the Bulldogs hung on to defeat UTSA, 85-75, on Thursday night in front of 3,428 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

LA Tech (15-5, 4-3 C-USA) held a double-digit lead for the majority of the second half. That was until UTSA (4-17, 2-6 C-USA) knocked down some late three-pointers to slice the deficit down to as much as six with 25 seconds to go.

After what was a sloppy second stanza for the Bulldogs with eight turnovers and 15 fouls, the team went a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final seconds to seal their fourth straight win over the Roadrunners.

“I thought it was a tale of two halves in many ways,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “Like we told the team, UTSA has some guards that can really score. Down the stretch, they buried some threes. We were a little sloppy with the basketball and we fouled an awful lot. Thankfully, we were able to make some free throws and make a couple of key plays down the stretch to win the game.”

It was balanced scoring across the board for the starters. Despite foul trouble, Dayon Griffin was Mr. Efficient yet again by going 7-of-9 from the field for 17 points.

Jacobi Boykins found his shooting stroke early by burying a three-pointer from the corner to put the ‘Dogs on the scoreboard. The sophomore would finish with a season-high four threes while tying his season high with 16 points.

Erik McCree recorded another solid performance with 15 points and a team-high nine rebounds and Merrill Holden put together a 10-point, 8-rebound night while also rejecting four shots.

“If we can have that type of balance, that means we are hitting on all cylinders,” Konkol said. “We had 22 assists tonight out of 27 made field goals. I thought offensively we were in a pretty good flow and guys were doing what they do best. Jacobi was hitting shots. Erik was hitting shots. Merrill was at the rim and got the nice dunk. Alex had 11 assists. Derric came off the bench and had five assists. We got great contributions from everyone.”

The first half was a game of runs by both ball clubs. After UTSA scored first with a three-pointer by Ryan Bowie, LA Tech responded with a 15-2 run only to see it erased by an 8-0 run from the Roadrunners.

The Bulldogs pulled ahead by double-digits, 27-17, only to see UTSA fight back to tie it up at 27-all. The two teams traded 7-0 runs to knot it up again at 34-all before LA Tech finished the first stanza on a 6-0 run compliments of four made free throws by Alex Hamilton and a layup by Dayon Griffin.

Hamilton took the game over after intermission, scoring or assisting on the first five made field goals to increase the lead to 63-46 with 9:11 left to go in the game.

LA Tech ended up shooting 51.9 percent from the field (27-52), the second best shooting percentage of the season, while getting to the free throw line 32 times and hitting 23 of them.

UTSA took 19 more shot attempts, going 27-of-71 for 38 percent. The Roadrunners were led by their guard trio of J.R. Harris, Christian Wilson and Ryan Bowie who combined to score 60 of the team’s 75 points.

Bowie led the way with a game-high 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Next up for LA Tech is a home matchup versus UTEP on Sunday, Jan. 31. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. and will be nationally televised on the Fox 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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