McCree Powers Bulldogs to 88-59 Victory
Dec. 3, 2016
RUSTON – It was only a matter of time before Erik McCree would show what he is truly capable of on the basketball court this season.
The redshirt senior dominated to the tune of a career-tying 33 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in leading Louisiana Tech to a convincing 88-59 victory over in-state foe Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
The forward came into the game needing 22 points to reach become the 39th Bulldog in program history to reach the milestone of 1,000 career points. He decided he did not want to take too long to eclipse it, dropping 24 in the first half alone.
In the process, LA Tech (4-3) extended its home winning streak to 11. It was also the 21st straight win over Southeastern (5-4) in Ruston.
“I was pleased with the team’s performance,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “Their attention to detail on the day we prepared was very good. Certainly this game concerned us. Southeastern has had some really good games on the road, wins and close loses. We knew we were going to have our hands full and I’m proud of our guys for the way they executed the game. We had really great energy and effort. We had a lot of guys in different lineups contribute.”
After a long trip out west, the ‘Dogs got back late on Thursday and only had one day to prep for the Lions who came into the contest ranked 14th in the country in three-point shooting percentage (41 percent).
There was no hangover or mental lapse whatsoever as LA Tech jumped on SLU early, going up 21-5 while making field goals and assisting on all eight.
A 5-minute scoring drought later ensued which allowed the Lions to go on a 9-0 run and slice the deficit down to six at 23-17. However, that is as close as the visiting team would get with McCree draining one of his fourth three-pointers to put an end to the skid.
He added 12 more points in the first half and true freshman DaQuan Bracey, making his first career start as a Bulldog, drilled a three-pointer of his own right before the buzzer sounded to send Tech into halftime with a 45-27 edge.
“[McCree] played extremely well with a lot of energy,” Konkol said. “He rebounded and got inside baskets and that is something we have really been trying to find ways to get close to the basket. I know you can make the basket seem even bigger when you step outside. He has worked extremely hard to have a game like this to really have a springboard for the next couple of weeks and the whole season.”
The ‘Dogs scored the first seven points of the second half, increasing the lead to as much as 32 with a little less than four minutes to play in what was a wire-to-wire victory.
LA Tech was very efficient on offense, shooting 30-of-54 for 55.6 percent from the field. Bracey finished with a career-high in points as well with 14 while also tallying a career-high eight assists (zero turnovers). Sherman was the third Bulldog in double figures with 12 points.
They were equally as efficient on defense, tying the program record for most blocks in a single game with 13. Joniah White and Jy’lan Washington led the way in that category, combining for nine of them.
SLU was also limited to just 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc and 22-of-65 (33.8 percent) from the field. The Lions had three players score double-digit points, anchored by Eddy Polanco who came off the bench to notch 12 points.
LA Tech wraps up the California Bears Classic on Monday, Dec. 5 with a home matchup versus Alcorn State. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. in the TAC.
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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