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Men’s college basketball: Bulldogs fall to Sam Houston in CUSA opener

by Russell Hedges

By Kane McGuire, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Strategic Communications

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Louisiana Tech’s road woes continued on Saturday, falling to Sam Houston 81-77 in the Conference USA opener inside Johnson Coliseum.

LA Tech (10-6, 0-1 CUSA) came into the contest having dominated the paint over the last few games. That was not the case against Sam Houston (8-8, 1-0 CUSA) who finished with a 32-18 scoring advantage in the paint.

Turnovers were also an issue for the Bulldogs, committing 14 of them which turned into 17 points for the Bearkats. And it was the home team that was the first to pull away, going on a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 advantage.

Down by 10 after Sam Houston made one of its nine three-pointers at the 7:43 mark of the first half, LA Tech ignited for a 15-2 run with seven of those points coming from Jordan Crawford off the bench. 

Tyler Henry’s triple gave the ‘Dogs a 37-35 lead with 2:25 left in the stanza, but the Bearkats closed the half on an 8-3 run to take a 3-point lead into the locker room.

LA Tech quickly jumped back out in front to start the second half and built a 57-52 advantage with 11:57 to go when Tahlik Chavez buried one of his four three-pointers. That lead got erased, and despite Chavez continuing to sink jumpers the Bearkats pushed their lead back out to six which forced a timeout by head coach Talvin Hester with 4:30 to play.

The Bulldogs would get the deficit down to two after a three-pointer by Isaiah Crawfordwith five seconds remaining, but Lamar Wilkerson, who had a game-high 24 points, hit both free throws to seal the win for the Bearkats.

Chavez finished with a team-high 20 points while Henry (13), I. Crawford (12), and J. Crawford (11) joined him in double figures. 

QUOTABLES
Head coach Talvin Hester

On coming up short …
“It was the worst defensive effort we have had all year. It is not close. I felt like we played the worst half of basketball in the first half. Our attitude and effort was not there. We did not play with maturity. That is one thing you absolutely have to do on the road. When you do not pack your defensive and give up 81 points, you are not going to win many games.”

On the paint …
“Their guards were beating our guards downhill and were getting second-chance points. I did not have our guys mentality prepared for the dogfight we would be in. This is always a hard place to play. Sam Houston is always physical and tough. Their numbers never truly tell you who they are as a team.”

On Jordan Crawford …
“I thought Jordan was one of the tough guys today, but it is a team sport and you need five guys continuously to be tough. You can make a mistake when you play hard. It just seemed like we only had three guys playing hard at one tough and two guys relaxing. It was not a good effort for us.”

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