Boykins Delivers in 76-67 Victory for Bulldogs
Feb. 2, 2017
RUSTON – Junior Jacobi Boykins had a chip on his shoulder after having to miss the last game.
That chip on Thursday night led to a game-high 25 points, one shy of his career high, which led Louisiana Tech to a 76-67 victory over WKU in front of 3,802 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
Boykins connected on five three-pointers, all coming in the first half when LA Tech (15-8, 7-3 C-USA) drained nine as a team. The sharp shooter was one of four starters in double figures on the night – Omar Sherman (15), Erik McCree (14) and Derric Jean (10).
“[Versatility] is very important and something that we want,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We want that type of balance. We had four guys in double figures. We want to get threes and we want to get paint touches. We did not want to just come out firing in the second half and expect to go 9-of-13.
“We wanted to establish some stuff in the post. Knowing that they were playing a smaller lineup, I thought the guys did a really good job of finding Sherman for post feeds and dump offs and White as well, when he was in the game.”
The Bulldogs showed off that versatility in a major way.
In the first stanza, McCree and DaQuan Bracey combined to play only 16 minutes of action as each starter picked up two early fouls.
WKU (11-12, 5-5 C-USA) used that to help cut its deficit down to six at 29-23 with six minutes to go before halftime, but LA Tech’s defense clamped down and only allowed just one field goal the rest of the period.
Meanwhile, Boykins went off for 19 first-half points to help the ‘Dogs take a 41-29 lead into intermission.
“He was sensational tonight with his liveliness and energy on both sides of the floor,” Konkol said of Boykins. “He picked his spots and of course he got it rolling from deep and from two. I am happy for him. I know it was a very difficult week for him last week and our program. It was really nice for him to bounce back the way he did.”
So after going 9-of-13 from behind the arc through the first 20 minutes of action, the Hilltoppers strengthened their zone to guard the perimeter more in the next 20 minutes. As a result, the Bulldogs focused on getting it into the paint.
Layups by Boykins, Sherman and Bracey gave LA Tech its largest lead of the game at 47-31 with 16:38 to go which forced WKU to call a timeout.
The Hilltoppers eventually gained some momentum on offense, getting a three-pointer from Damari Parris and a dunk by Justin Johnson to get to within 10 which prompted coach Konkol to call a timeout with 8:04 left to go.
The visiting team scored a minute later to cut it down to eight, but Joniah White countered with a slam dunk. The two squads exchanged baskets a few times until the clock struck zero for LA Tech’s 15th win of the season (11th at home).
The Bulldogs ended up shooting 30-of-61 from the field for 49 percent and 11-of-20 from three-point range for 55 percent while only turning it over eight times. Jean and Bracey combined for 12 assists.
WKU was 23-of-54 from the field for 43 percent and 7-of-20 from beyond the arc for 35 percent. Junior Justin Johnson led the way for the Hilltoppers with a double-double of 23 points and 10 boards.
LA Tech returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 4 when they take on Marshall. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in the TAC.
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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