LA Tech Picks Up Win No. 20 by Defeating UTSA
Feb. 18, 2016
SAN ANTONIO – Louisiana Tech picked up win No. 20 on the season, coming into San Antonio and grabbing an 87-74 victory over UTSA on Thursday night inside the Convocation Center.
LA Tech (20-6, 9-4 C-USA) was forced to do so without the services of their second leading scorer, Erik McCree, who did not play due to injury.
His scoring partner, Alex Hamilton gave a great effort by scoring a game-high 25 points on 10-of-11 shooting to go along with his typical numbers of six assists, five rebounds and even a career-tying five steals.
Stepping up in place of McCree on the offensive end were Merrill Holden and Derric Jean who each scored career highs with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Stepping up defensively was Jy’lan Washington who got the start and had two blocks and forced several altered shots.
“I thought that we had some really good stretches of playing good defense,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We had possessions where we got several stops in a row, but I do think we turned the ball over too much. We had some sloppy play. Some of that were really new lineups that have not played together very much in conference road games.
“I do think we grew tonight. I thought our two freshmen, Jy’lan and Derric, both played big minutes. Merrill is gaining more experience and I thought Jacobi Boykins made great plays as did Alex Hamilton.”
Washington’s defense was crucial for the Bulldogs to take what was a seven-point advantage at halftime and turn it into a 64-40 lead with 11:51 to go, limiting UTSA (4-23, 2-12 C-USA) to just six points in the first eight minutes of action in the second stanza.
There was still a lot of fight in a Roadrunner team who clawed back to get the deficit down to eight with two minutes left. However, the Bulldogs got back-to-back layups by Jean and Jacobi Boykins and hit five free throws late to put the game away.
The game was back and forth for the first 15 minutes of action with the ‘Dogs holding a slim 26-25 lead. However, for the final five minutes Hamilton went into takeover mode by scoring or assisting on seven straight field goals.
Boykins was the fourth Bulldog in double figures with 14 points as the team ended up shooting a season-high 60.4 percent from the field (32-53). LA Tech also finished with a +11 rebounding advantage in winning for the seventh time in the last eight games.
UTSA shot 27-of-66 from the field for 40.9 percent and was anchored by Ryan Bowie who finished with 20 points but needed 18 shot attempts to do so. The other two guard, J.R. Harris and Christian Wilson, combined to add 19 points on 7-of-25 shooting.
“I thought we did a nice job,” Konkol said on guarding UTSA’s dangerous backcourt. “We held them below their collective average. We did give one of their post players more opportunities, but that was part of the game plan to see if he could outpace the other guys. Our team executed the game plan the way we wanted to defensively.”
LA Tech now travels to El Paso on Saturday, Feb. 20 to take on UTEP. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT and will be nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network.
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