LA Tech Suffers One-Point Loss to WKU
Dec. 28, 2017
BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky – Louisiana Tech suffered its third one-possession loss of the season in the Conference USA opener on Thursday night as the Bulldogs fell to WKU, 69-68, in front of 4,897 Hilltopper fans inside E.A. Diddle Arena.
It was not an ideal start for LA Tech (9-5, 0-1 C-USA) to begin with. The first half included Jacobi Boykins picking up three fouls, the team’s leading scorer DaQuan Bracey only scoring two points and WKU (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) going 12-of-17 from the foul line while the Bulldogs had zero free throw attempts.
Despite all of this, the ‘Dogs somehow found themselves down by only nine points (were down by as much as 14) at intermission.
The second half was a different story. LA Tech clawed its way back into the game and ultimately took a one-point lead with 18 seconds left. But WKU pulled down another offensive rebound, the Achilles heel of the Bulldogs on the night, and made two free throws.
LA Tech had two shot attempts to win the game but Bracey had his shot blocked and Boykins’ three-pointer rimmed out.
“Rehashing the game, it really came down to offensive rebounding, at key times,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “It gave Western Kentucky chances to make plays at the end.
“We did not get quality shots early. We turned the ball over very carelessly at times in the first half. We got into severe foul trouble. We were scrambling a little bit and were just trying to weather the storm. I thought we did as the game went on, came out with a lot of energy and made it a game.”
Joniah White slammed home the first field goal attempt of the Bulldogs off the feed from Bracey. However, the team followed that up by missing its next nine shots.
This allowed the Hilltoppers to build as much as a 24-10 lead at the 10-minute mark of the first stanza. Down 13 with a little over three minutes left before halftime, LA Tech went on a 9-2 run that was capped off by Exavian Christon connecting on a three-pointer.
WKU answered with a triple of its own and took a 38-29 advantage into the locker room.
The Bulldogs made a similar run midway through the second half as Boykins connected on back-to-back threes and Bracey got to the rim on a layup to force a Hilltopper timeout, down just three with 7:54 to play.
With multiple opportunities to tie or take the lead, WKU scored six of its next seven points on second chances from offensive rebounds, an unfortunate recurring theme that would want LA Tech at the end.
But for the first time since 47 seconds into the game, the Bulldogs had the lead cause of a 6-0 mini-run with two driving layups by Derric Jean and one by Bracey to go up 68-67.
WKU’s Lamonte Bearden was fouled with 12 seconds left, missed both, but he came up with the rebound on the second was. Bearden was fouled again, but made these two.
LA Tech ended up shooting just 39 percent from the field (26-67), 32 percent from three-point range (7-22) and got to the foul line only 13 times (all in the second half) while making nine of them.
Despite combining for just five points in the first half, Boykins and Bracey led the team in scoring with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Jean was the third Bulldog in double figures with 11.
Bracey also had seven assists for the third straight game. White finished with a season-high nine rebounds.
WKU was limited to just 10 made field goals in the second stanza, but still shot 22-of-56 for the game for 39 percent and 5-of-11 from deep for 46 percent. They also made 20 free throws on 30 attempts.
Dwight Coleby was a beast inside, registering a double-double with 16 points and 15 boards. Fellow big man Justin Johnson also had 16 points in the game.
Next up for LA Tech is a trip to West Virginia to battle Marshall. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and will be streamed live on ESPN3.
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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