Bulldogs Outlast Hornets, Advance to Championship

Dec. 21, 2017

Final Stats

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NEW ORLEANS – On the 126th birthday of the game of basketball, Louisiana Tech had four players score in double figures to help the team advance to the championship of the New Orleans Shootout after a 74-62 victory over Alabama State on Thursday afternoon at the Xavier Convocation Center.

LA Tech (8-4) snapped its two-game losing skid and will take on the Fort Wayne Mastodons on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the finals in what will also be the squad’s final non-conference game of the season.

There was one tie in the ball game with ASU (0-11), but the Bulldogs led the rest of the way against a stingy Hornets team. Sophomore guard DaQuan Bracey led the charge for the ‘Dogs with a team-high 16 points to go along with seven assists and a career-high five steals.

“I thought we played some good team basketball today,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We had 21 assists which is really key for us. We were able to accomplish some of our goals defensively like guarding the three. Turning the ball over has been a key factor in our losses and we were concerned about Alabama State’s pressure. I thought we handled that pressure well and got good shots.

“Alabama State has been down and gotten themselves back into a lot of games this year. There is no quit in them and it was exactly the type of test we needed and the guys were able to respond.”

LA Tech opened up the game with a lefty-hook shot by junior center Joniah White and a three-pointer by senior guard Jacobi Boykins to jump out to a quick 5-0 lead.

Alabama State would tie the game up at 7-7, but the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to grab a seven-point advantage. Despite LA Tech shooting 57 percent from the field and knocking down five three-pointers, three by Boykins himself, in the first half they could not pull away much beyond that.

A made free throw by freshman guard Amorie Archibald made it a 37-29 lead at halftime, the largest lead through the first 20 minutes.

That largest lead quickly turned into a 14-point spread as the Bulldogs scored six points in the first 60 seconds of the second stanza with two made free throws by White and two fast-break layups by Bracey which forced an ASU timeout.

On two different occasions though, the Hornets pulled to within six. The first time coming with 13:32 to play after back-to-back triples by Reginald Gee and Rodney Simeon.

The second time came after ASU turned a steal into a quick bucket with 9:14 to go, forcing a LA Tech timeout with the ‘Dogs ahead 57-51.

Bracey hit a big three-pointer less than a minute later to stop the Hornets momentum. The game was eventually put away by Boykins when he hit his fourth three on the assist from Bracey.

“We have to be able to recover quickly,” Konkol added. “We have several guys banged up and not feeling 100 percent. We have to be able to have great mental preparation and then play with great energy and enthusiasm tomorrow against Fort Wayne.”

LA Tech shot 50 percent from the field (26-52) and from three-point range (8-of-16). Along with Bracey, Boykins finished with 14 and freshman forward Anthony Duruji and junior forward Jy’lan Washington registered 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Freshman guard Exavian Christon got his first career start as a Bulldog and recorded eight points and a career-high five rebounds.

Alabama State was 27-of-60 from the field for 45 percent and 6-of-20 from deep for 30 percent while committing 18 turnovers. The Hornets had two players score double-digit points, led by Gee with 16.

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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