Bulldogs Upend Ragin' Cajuns behind Second Half Surge
Dec. 12, 2015
RUSTON – Louisiana Tech has found itself trailing at halftime in three of the five home games this season.
No. 4 came on Saturday afternoon against in-state foe Louisiana-Lafayette, down four at intermission and then behind by as much as 10 with 14:18 left in the game.
But just like in those three previous games, the Bulldogs stormed back on the backs of Alex Hamilton, Erik McCree and Dayon Griffin who combined to score 77 points in taking down the Ragin’ Cajuns, 91-79, in front of 3,912 fans inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
The last time LA Tech (8-1) played ULL (3-4) in Ruston, the visitors were able to put a halt to a 19-game home winning streak by the Bulldogs.
A short-handed squad -- eight scholarship players available -- was not going to let another home streak come to an end at the hands of the Cajuns, extending it to 36 which is the second longest in the country.
“The streak is something that we do not talk about so much, but it is something you feel,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “This game was important to our team. It was certainly important to me. It was important to our fans. Every game is.
“There is something special about playing an in-state team and a team that you play often. We have played them 161 times. There is a lot of history here. This was one that the guys wanted quite badly. They really gave it all that they had. It showed.”
Hamilton, the lone Bulldog to have suffered the back-to-back losses to ULL, refused to let it happen for a third straight year. The senior guard took over, registering a season-high 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
When Hamilton had to leave the game midway through the first half due to two fouls, it was Griffin who stepped up and proceeded to score seven straight points. Coming off a career game against LSU-Shreveport, the sophomore guard easily topped that by shooting 9-of-10 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc to register 22 points.
Then in the second half, McCree kicked it into high gear, scoring 17 of his season-high 25 points after halftime.
With the game tied up at 63-63 with 7:19 to go, the redshirt junior tallied seven points as the Bulldogs caught fire and went on a 14-1 run to grab a double-digit lead and never relinquished it.
LA Tech ended up scoring 58 points in the second half, but just as important, it held the second highest scoring offense in the country (91.8 per game) to 79 points on 40.6 percent shooting.
Much of the defensive focus was on ULL’s big man, Shawn Long, who ended the day with a season-low nine points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds.
Despite missing their first seven shots of the game, the ‘Dogs wound up going 31-of-61 from the field for 50.8 percent and 8-of-20 from three-point range for 40.0 percent.
And despite going just 3-of-9 from the foul line in the first half, they made their last 18 attempts to finish 21-of-28 for 75 percent to help put the game away.
Next up for LA Tech is a road matchup against SEC foe Ole Miss on Tuesday, Dec. 15. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the SEC Network.
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