C-USA BASKETBALL RECAP: CHARLOTTE AT LOUISIANA TECH
Louisiana Tech came into their matchup against Charlotte having had their hearts ripped out in a Saturday loss to FIU. The Bulldogs surrendered two three-point shots in the last three seconds of the game - a disaster finish that included a miscue on an inbounds pass. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak.
On Thursday night, head coach Eric Konkol and company got redemption as the Bulldogs coasted to an 83-65 home win at Thomas Assembly Center. Louisiana Tech moves back up to 6-6 in a conference and starts their four-game home stretch off with an important feel-good win.
The game was tied once - 44 seconds into the game Charlotte’s Najee Garvin made a layup to tie the game at two apiece. The Bulldogs started the game on an 18-2 run that broke the game open and though the 49ers vaguely threatened to make it a game at certain points after that, the result was never truly in doubt.
Louisiana Tech had one of it’s best offensive outings of the year on Thursday night. The team was able to stretch out the Charlotte defense with good passing that consistently resulted in open threes and layup opportunities. They combined for a season-high 23 assists on a season-low 6 turnovers and matched a season high with 14 made shots from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs had five players score in double figures - nine different players scored on the night.
The biggest news for Louisiana Tech fans was the return of DaQuan Bracey - a lingering back injury kept Louisiana Tech’s leading scorer out for most of January. In 22 dynamic minutes off the bench, he finished with a team-high 17 points on 6 for 8 shooting.
Bracey did most of his damage before halftime - he made all 5 of his first-half shots. The 14-point outburst culminated with an and-one layup after a sweet spin move in the lane that brought the crowd to its feet. The Bulldogs will need to hope for more performances like this from Bracey as they head down the final stretch and the Conference USA Tournament approaches.
The Bulldogs got contributions from all over. Derric Jean had a nice all-around game with 11 points, a steal, two blocks and matched a season high with three made shots from downtown. Oliver Powell had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Amorie Archibald shot poorly from the field - 5 points on just 1 of 9 shooting - but took the lion’s share of the distributing duties with 9 assists.
The game’s most controversial moment came when Senior guard Jacobi Boykins was ejected in the second half after picking up his second technical foul of the game.
Boykins picked up a questionable first technical in the first half after what looked to be a clean block on Charlotte forward Milos Supica. The second came after Boykins stripped Charlotte’s leading man Jon Davis and took it the other way for a fast-break slam. After the dunk, Boykins pointed and smiled at Davis, prompting the referee to throw him out of the game.
beIN SPORTS college basketball analyst Jason Capel was not happy about it.
JACOBI BOYKINS WITH NO REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE AND A....— beIN COLLEGE SPORTS (@beINCOLLEGE) February 9, 2018
technical foul? @LATechHoops' Boykins is ejected after receiving his second technical foul of the night. Jason Capel does NOT agree. Now on @beINSPORTSUSA pic.twitter.com/Qygq4yjFIc
Louisiana Tech’s next three games will come against some of Conference USA’s best - they host Old Dominion on Saturday before two games against UAB and conference-leading Middle Tennessee next week. The Bulldogs will hope that some more home cooking will lead to notches in the win column against some tough opponents.
For interim coach Houston Fancher and the 49ers, the loss is their ninth straight and their 15th in their last 17 games. Charlotte has just one conference win of the season. Despite outrebounding Louisiana Tech by 11, they gave the ball away too often and failed to find viable scoring options outside of Jon Davis passing or taking a jump shot.
Only three Charlotte players made field goals in the first half.
Davis led the team with a game-high 24 points on 7 of 19 shooting. He came close to a triple-double - filling the stat sheet with 8 rebounds and 8 assists.
Unfortunately for Charlotte, his backcourt mate Andrien White was out for the game. The 49ers’ injury struggles have put them at a disadvantage all season. They played just seven players on Thursday night.
The 49ers head to Hattiesburg to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Saturday.
Other Conference USA Scores
Rice 75, Middle Tennessee 94
Old Dominion 68, Southern Miss 63
North Texas 67, UAB 60
FIU 66, Marshall 76
FAU 63, Western Kentucky 75
We head back to Norfolk, Virginia next week. Tune in to watch the Old Dominion Monarchs (18-5 overall, 9-2 C-USA) try to shut down Jhivvan Jackson and the red-hot UTSA Roadrunners (13-11 overall, 6-5 overall) at 8:00PM ET / 7:00PM CT on beIN SPORTS.