Hamilton Reaches 1,000 Career Points in Victory
Dec. 29, 2014
RUSTON - Alex Hamilton came into Monday night's game in the Thomas Assembly Center averaging 15.3 points per game and 15 points was exactly what he needed to become the 38th member of the 1,000 point club at Louisiana Tech.
Stuck on 14 with 90 seconds to go in the game, it was only fitting that the junior reached the milestone on his classic three-point play in the 74-52 victory over Southern Arkansas in the final non-conference game of the season.
The Chipley, Fla. native finished with a team-high 17 points. Meanwhile, LA Tech (9-4) as a team reached a couple of milestones on its own, notching the 20th straight win in the TAC for the sixth time in program history and also by outrebounding its opponent for the first time this season.
"Tonight I thought we were pretty locked in mentally," head coach Michael White said. "I thought we made a lot of pretty good decisions, defensively. I thought our press was as good as it has been all year. I thought the energy level was high. We looked a little fresher out there, especially in the second half.
"Mentally we got recharged over the break. If you take three or four of those hard deep threes that [Jaron Davis] hit, it would have been arguably our best defensive performance. We outrebounded our first opponent, I know this is not a Conference USA opponent, but it feels good to win that column."
The Bulldogs started out hot on offense, hitting on nine of their first 11 shot attempts to build a 24-11 lead with 11:30 left in the first half. Xavian Stapleton, Jacobi Boykins and Hamilton ignited what was an 18-4 run to have the 13-point lead after SAU (5-4) was up by one point early.
After doubling up the Muleriders, 34-17, the `Dogs netted just four points in the final six minutes of the stanza to take a 38-28 advantage into halftime.
The team started the second half sluggish as well, making just two of their first 11 shots. SAU got to within nine, 44-35, with 14 minutes left in the game, but then LA Tech held the opponent scoreless for four minutes while also forcing five of the 26 turnovers.
The defense led to offense with Hamilton converting one of his multiple three-point plays and Raheem Appleby nailing a three-pointer from the wing.
It turned into an 11-0 run, increasing the Bulldog lead to 55-35 midway through the second stanza.
"Alex is a wonderful young man," White said. "He has overcome some real adversity in his life. He is a great ambassador to this program. I am just really proud of him. He has worked and gotten so much better in other areas.
"He has been really good and to see him and any of our guys win an award or achieve a milestone is fun to watch. He will accomplish some other things while he is here as well."
The bench was emptied throughout the contest with 12 Bulldogs seeing playing time. Stapleton joined Hamilton in double figures with 16 points, 11 of which came in the first half.
Appleby did what Appleby does, scoring in double figures for the 12th time this season with 12 points. Kyser missed his double-double by one rebound, recording 10 points and nine boards.
SAU's Jaron Davis led the way for the Muleriders with a game-high 18 points, including five three-pointers.
Now LA Tech begins its quest for a third straight conference regular season title on Saturday, Jan. 3 when the Bulldogs take on Southern Miss at 7 p.m. in Hattiesburg.
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