Bulldogs Hold Off Panthers in 65-52 Victory

Dec. 13, 2016

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RUSTON – Up two with less than four minutes to play, Louisiana Tech was able to close the game out on an 11-0 run to hold off Prairie View A&M in a 65-52 victory on Tuesday night in what was the team’s 13th straight win inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

Prairie View A&M (2-9) sat in a zone defensively for almost the entire 40 minutes and it was working. A game removed from having 21 turnovers, LA Tech (6-4) eclipsed that by committing 24 against the Panthers.

Only one of those came during the final run though. Leading 54-52 with 3:42 to play, Jacobi Boykins hit his fifth three-pointer (17-of-26 from beyond the arc over the last three games) to give the junior sharp shooter a game-high 19 points. Jalen Harris then took over offensively, scoring six of his 12 points to put the game away.

“I think any time you experience some frustration and things are not going exactly the way that you planned and your team comes together to find a way, that is a positive,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “There is an opportunity for us to be happy about winning the game and to look at a lot of the information that we have now and get better for the future.

“I expected [Jacobi Boykins] to make a lot of shots this season. He is a special shooter when he gets his feet set and lets it rip. He makes a lot of shots. It is really our job as a staff and team to find him as much as possible to get him those shots.”

Through almost 14 minutes of action, LA Tech had committed eight turnovers and was just 3-of-11 from beyond the arc. That in turn allowed the Panthers to have a 21-17 advantage.

After a made free throw by DaQuan Bracey, Erik McCree made eight straight points including back-to-back three-pointers that both came from the top of the arc. A Bracey steal then led to a fast-break layup for Boykins to give the Bulldogs an 11-0 run and a 28-21 edge four minutes later.

The ‘Dogs would eventually take a four-point lead into intermission but extended that lead to 49-36 with nine minutes remaining behind a stifling defensive effort, limiting the Panthers to just eight total points up to that point.

The opponent would not go away though. Prairie View A&M responded with a 13-2 run to slice the deficit down to two. Erik McCree followed that up with a lob pass to Joniah White who completed an old-fashioned three-point play to deny the Panthers a chance to tie or take the lead.

McCree registered his fifth straight double-double with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. White was stellar off the bench defensively, tallying a career-high six blocks to go along with six boards.

“He is getting better and better,” Konkol said of White. “His athleticism, wind and durability, as well as his timing, are getting better. He went so long without practicing and you can just see him growing in front of all of our eyes. He is getting better and better and we are thrilled to see his development and progress.”

As a team, the Bulldogs shot 22-of-40 from the field for 55.0 percent – fourth straight game shooting this percentage. They were also 9-of-22 for 40.9 percent from three-point range.

The Panthers were 21-for-53 from the field (39.6 percent) and 6-for-17 from beyond the arc (35.3 percent). They were led in scoring by Zachary Hamilton who posted 11 points.

LA Tech returns to the court on Saturday, Dec. 17 when they take on crosstown foe Grambling State in the first annual Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic at the CenturyLink Center. 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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