Bulldogs Notch 20th Win of the Season
Feb. 18, 2017
RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team notched its six straight win and its 20th of the season on Saturday night with a 77-61 victory over FIU inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
In the previous game, redshirt senior Erik McCree only took five shots. The forward was much more aggressive tonight for LA Tech (20-8, 12-3 C-USA), recording his 12th double-double of the season with a game-high 27 points and 10 rebounds.
“Winning 20 games for the fifth straight year says a lot about the players that have been here,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “This program has had some terrific players. It says a lot about the commitment of excellent at this University. We want this to be a program that lasts. We want to keep recruiting young men and keep coaching these players up to keep having great success.”
What was similar to Thursday was the slow start. The Bulldogs were sluggish on offense, making just one of their first eight field goal attempts and committing two turnovers. Meanwhile, FIU (6-21, 2-12 C-USA) held a 10-3 lead with 14:30 remaining in the first half.
Five straight points from McCree then got LA Tech out of a rut and within two. The Panthers were clinging to that two-point advantage when freshman DaQuan Bracey took over.
The point guard assisted or scored on six straight buckets to spark a 13-2 run and give the Bulldogs a 21-14 lead. The run did not stop there either. One of his 10 assists (zero turnovers) later went to Jalen Harris in the corner for a three-pointer to make the run 23-5 and the lead 36-20.
The midway point came soon thereafter and the ‘Dogs held a 13-point advantage.
The second stanza was full of McCree getting to the foul line with his aggression. He ended up going 12-of-13 from the charity stripe while making 12 points during an early four-minute stretch.
“[McCree] was very efficient and aggressive,” Konkol said. “He was really trying to get to the rim, attacking shoulders, attacking angles. He was really physical tonight on offense and on the boards.”
The lead got as big as 61-35 with 10:49 to play on a made jumper by Omar Sherman.
LA Tech shot 27-of-64 from the field for 42 percent (46 paint points) and just 4-of-20 from three-point range for 20 percent. They were extremely efficient from the free throw line though, making 19-of-21.
The defense was cranked up in spots, registering six blocks and 10 steals while having a plus-eight turnover margin.
Junior Jacobi Boykins joined McCree in double figures with 17 points, including two highlight-reel slam dunks. Freshman Jalen Harris also had double-digit points for a second straight game, scoring 11 points which all came in the first half.
FIU was 21-of-53 from the field for 40 percent and 7-of-16 from behind the arc for 44 percent. Donte McGill and Michael Kessens were in double figures for the Panthers with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
LA Tech stays in second in the Conference USA standings with three games to go. The first of the three comes on Thursday, Feb. 23 when the Bulldogs travel to face North Texas in Denton. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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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