Hamilton Caps TAC Career with Triple-Double and a Victory
Feb. 27, 2016
RUSTON – Alex Hamilton came into Saturday night having won 60 games inside the Thomas Assembly Center while making plenty of lasting memories along the way.
But his final game in the TAC – victory No. 61 – will go down as his most cherished performance of all as the senior guard registered only the third triple-double in program history and the first since 1991 with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in leading Louisiana Tech to an 88-69 win over Rice in front of 5,527 witnessing fans, the largest of the season.
It was also just the 18th triple-double recorded in Conference USA history, a historic stat which propelled LA Tech (22-7, 11-5 C-USA) into a three-way tie for second in the league standings with two games left to go in the regular season.
“It was an electric night,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “The fans were fantastic. You could really feel the energy. And Alex was spectacular. He was tenacious all night in doing so many different things. Our guys responded too. I could sense it in the locker room that they had great energy and were really excited about this game. It was a special night.”
Hamilton was put on triple-double alert at the midway point where his stat sheet read six points, five rebounds and five assists. The points category may have been a little under his norm, but the rest of the Bulldogs were doing plenty of scoring.
The first half was the complete opposite of Thursday with LA Tech racing out to a 9-0 lead in the first three minutes of action, forcing an early timeout by Rice (12-17, 7-9 C-USA).
The St. Petersburg duo of Jacobi Boykins and Dayon Griffin combined to score 21 points to help give the ‘Dogs a 41-26 halftime advantage. The 15-point lead was built in large part because of the Bulldog defense which forced nine turnovers and limiting Rice’s star scorer Marcus Evans to just four points.
“If we could that every night I will sign up,” Konkol said on the team’s first half performance. “I think some of it too is the style. Rice is very fast in the way they play. We knew it was going to be a very up-and-down game. I told the guys that we need to bring our track shoes. We cannot warm up as the game begins because it is going to be fast and it was.”
The Owls were trying to hang around, down 50-36 with 15:59 left to go, but then it was Hamilton who took the game over as he frequently does.
Hamilton would score 13 of the next 17 points for LA Tech, including two three-pointers, two attacking layups and a patented and-one, to push the home team’s lead out to 67-44.
The triple-double seemed like a 100 percent lock after the all-time winningest Bulldog got an offensive rebound and the putback to go at which time he had the double-digit points and assists but was one rebound shy with 7:44 still to be played.
Everyone in the building was on pins and needles knowing what needed to happen and with 3:47 to go, Hamilton chased down a long rebound to etch his name into the record books once more.
“No better ending,” Hamilton said. “I moved up in different categories. I got the win to go out. My teammates were very supportive. We had fun. The crowd was behind us. I don’t think there was any better ending.”
With his 25 points, he moved into fourth on the all-time career scoring list, passing Anthony Dade (1988-92). His 11 assists also tied a season high.
The team ended up dishing out a season-high 26 assists en route to going 35-of-69 from the field for 50.7 percent. Boykins finished with a career-high 19 points. Griffin added 13 points and Merrill Holden registered 10.
Rice was held to 39.2 percent shooting (20-51) and was led by Egor Koulechov who posted a double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Evans finished with 18 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
LA Tech will now hit the road for its final two games of the regular season. The first matchup will come versus Marshall on Thursday, March 3 at 6 p.m. CT 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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