Hamilton Drives Bulldogs to Road Victory
Feb. 4, 2016
HOUSTON – Alex Hamilton tied a career high with 31 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds and five assists to lead Louisiana Tech to its fourth straight victory, a 90-78 road win over Rice on Thursday night inside Tudor Fieldhouse.
After over a dozen lead changes and eight ties, LA Tech (17-5, 6-3 C-USA) found itself down by eight, 59-51, to Rice (7-15, 2-7 C-USA) with 10:40 left in the game.
From there though it was all Bulldogs as the team outscored the Owls, 39-19, the rest of the way on the back of Hamilton who passed Paul Millsap and Karl Malone on the all-time career scoring list.
“I am most proud of how we stuck together,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We were down eight in the second half. Rice had a lot of momentum. It was not looking good for us, but we did not fold. The guys really stuck together. They were attentive and really tried to execute the next play and take it possession by possession.
“I thought our guys started to get into more of a rhythm of guarding Rice. They are very difficult cover. They score the ball very well and they do it in a unique way. They are different than all of the other teams in our league that we have played. We were mixing lineups and we found a good combination and were able to ride that combination for a good while.”
Hamilton was limited to just eight points on four shot attempts in the first half. There was also the issue of turnovers (11) and fouls (12).
Had it not been for a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Derric Jean at intermission, LA Tech would have been down one but instead were up two, 36-34, at the end of the first stanza.
Rice came out hot in the second half, getting eight straight points including back-to-back threes by Marcus Evans to regain the lead. The Bulldogs tied the game up for an eight time at 45-45 before the Owls went on a 14-6 run.
At that point, Hamilton simply took over the basketball game. He then scored or assisted on 21 of the next 23 points by the Bulldogs. After getting double teamed, he found Branden Sheppard down low for two layups to get the offensive rhythm of the team started.
He then scored it in a bunch of different ways -- knocking down free throws, a couple of and-ones, a fast break layup after a steal and to cap it off a step-back three-pointer.
“I thought Alex really found his spots tonight,” Konkol said. “He did not force the issue too early. And as we were able to spread the floor more and more, he was able to find his areas and made some big plays continuously in a lot of different ways. He had a huge game as did Derric Jean. I thought Derric, on the road as a freshman when big plays were needed against their pressure, he really did a nice job.”
Jean came off the bench to score 12 points. The freshman had scored eight total in the last five games combined.
Rice finished shooting 25-of-58 from the field for 43.1 percent and was led by Egor Koulechov who had a 20 points.
LA Tech now heads to Denton on Saturday where it will take on North Texas. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the American 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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