Bulldogs Outlast Jaguars for 37th Straight Home Win
Dec. 18, 2015
RUSTON – Erik McCree posted his third double-double of the season and three other Bulldogs scored in double figures as Louisiana Tech outlasted in-state foe Southern, 83-76, on Friday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
With the victory, LA Tech (9-2) extended its home winning streak to 37 games which is the second longest active streak in the country.
“We really wanted to set the tone early and get off to a good start and I thought our guys defended very well in the first half,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We had great effort and execution. We had both going. I thought we came off not with that same type of effort in the second half. It gave Southern a chance to get back into the game and then we got it back going again, making some big plays and big stops to finish out the ball game.
“Southern is a very good team. I think they are going to challenge for their conference championship. We are very pleased to get this win. I give the guys a lot of credit for sticking together and making it come together at the end.”
Unlike their previous home games, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 27-13 lead on an offensive putback by McCree with 7:18 to go in the first half.
The hot start was much-needed against a Southern (7-4) team who came into the game with impressive road wins at Mississippi State and Wyoming and was one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country.
LA Tech ended up holding an 11-point advantage over SU at halftime, but the Jaguars outscored the home team 19-8 to open the second stanza to grab a 50-48 lead, their first since the score was 3-2, with 11:41 remaining in the game.
The two teams traded punches on the next few possessions. Derric Jean hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to snatch the lead back for the ‘Dogs. The Jags countered with a layup by Tony Nunn to reclaim it.
McCree then scored six straight points – a three-pointer and three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt – to push the Bulldog lead to 57-52.
Ramping up the aggression on offense, the charity stripe is where LA Tech would live at for the rest of the game, going 13-of-17 to help seal the victory.
McCree ended the night with a team-high 21 points, his fifth 20+ scoring performance this season, and 10 rebounds. Alex Hamilton and Jean added 19 and 15 points, respectively.
The front court stepped up big for the ‘Dogs as well. Not only did Branden Sheppard go 5-for-5 for 10 points, but Merrill Holden saw his first action of the season -- missed 10 games -- and posted four points, four rebounds and two blocks.
LA Tech shot 45.3 percent from the field (24-53) and 40 percent from beyond the arc (8-20).
Southern finished with a shooting percentage of 45.2 (28-62), led by Adrian Rodgers who had a game-high 23 points. Jared Sam added a double-double – 18 points and 10 rebounds – for the Jags.
Next up for LA Tech is a trip to the Sunshine State on Tuesday, Dec. 22 to take on Florida Gulf Coast. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on ESPN3.
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