Bulldogs Win Wild One

March 3, 2016

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HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – The Louisiana Tech players took a ton of half-court shots, full-court shots and over-the-shoulder shots at the end of its practices at the Cam Henderson Center, something they always do for fun.

As usual the team did not make very many, but little did the Bulldogs know one of them would have another chance at making a Steph Curry-like basket during the game.

With 3.3 seconds left and the score knotted up for a 10th time, freshman Derric Jean got the ball back after in-bounding it and ended up draining a shot from half court at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a wild 97-94 victory over Marshall on Thursday night.

“That was a heck of a college basketball game,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “I think it shows how good our league is. I thought there was a lot of skill out there. I know I told our team late in the second half that whoever has the ball last is going to win this game. That proved to be true.

“I am proud of our guys. There were many times that we could have folded, but they just stuck together and found a way. I think coach D’Antoni does a tremendous job. His team has gotten better and better all season long. We knew were going to have a tough cover. Boy was it tough. I am just really proud of our guys.”

The game not only pitted the two highest scoring offenses in Conference USA, but it also pitted two of the best players in the league up against each other in the ‘Dogs Alex Hamilton and the Herd’s James Kelly and both proved why.

Hamilton finished with a career-high 38 points, the most points scored by a Bulldog since Karl Malone in 1983, to go along with six assists, four rebounds and four steals. On the other end, Kelly notched a team-high 27 points and six boards.

LA Tech (23-7, 12-5 C-USA) found itself down 93-89 with 1:26 to go and it looked as though Marshall (15-15, 11-6 C-USA) was going to pull it out at home by hitting three-pointer after three-pointer.

But as was the case for the entire game, Hamilton refused to lose. The senior guard connected on a long three-pointer himself which got a friendly bounce off the rim and the backboard and through the net to pull the Bulldogs to within one.

After a defensive stop, he then hit a driving layup to give the ‘Dogs a one-point advantage with 29 seconds to go. Marshall called a timeout and held the ball for the last shot which was taken by Kelly.

The senior missed on a five-foot hook shot but a foul was called on Merrill Holden. Kelly missed the first, but made the second to tie the game up at 94-94 before Jean hit the game-winner from 47 feet out.

“We tried to get the ball to Alex Hamilton and I said if he is doubled, take those guys away, throw it to Jy’lan [Washington] and then Derric [Jean] catch it and see how far you can go and fire,” Konkol said. “Or if anybody comes at you, hit one of the guys in the corner. Derric made a great shot. He executed the play exactly right.” LA Tech ended up scoring 58 points in the second half after being down by six at intermission. For the game, the Bulldogs shot 50 percent from the field (32-64) and 55 percent from beyond the arc (11-20).

Erik McCree finished with his team-leading eighth double-double of the season with 22 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Dayon Griffin added 18 and Jean scored 10.

Marshall shot 53 percent from the field (35-66) and connected for 10 threes.

LA Tech is now in a two-way tie for second in the league standings with Middle Tennessee. They conclude its regular season on Saturday, March 5 when they take on WKU in Bowling Green. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on Fox College Sports.

For all the latest in Bulldog Basketball, follow them on Twitter (@LATechHoops), Instagram (@LATechHoops) Facebook (LATechMBB) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.




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