Home » Men’s college basketball: Bulldogs sweep road trip with win over New Mexico State

Men’s college basketball: Bulldogs sweep road trip with win over New Mexico State

by Russell Hedges

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

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Road Dogs showed up again on Saturday night.

Louisiana Tech extended its winning streak to four, sweeping its road trip to the mountains by defeating New Mexico State, 67-58, inside the Pan American Center.

In doing so, LA Tech (20-8, 10-3 CUSA) did something that has become the norm and that is reach 20 wins on the season. They also did something that was definitely not the norm and that was defeat NM State (11-17, 5-8 CUSA) in Las Cruces as the Bulldogs had tried and failed 10 times before.

The matchup played out very similar to Thursday night’s game at UTEP as neither team could pull away from the other, ultimately coming down to the last five minutes.

And the Bulldogs flexed their muscle yet again, executing on offense to a tee and getting defensive stop after defensive stop – LA Tech made its last six field goals while NM State made just one field goal in the last five minutes.

After the Aggies retook the lead by one with 5:26 to go in the game, LA Tech outscored NM State, 14-4, the rest of the way. The Bulldogs had already dug themselves out of a 7-point hole, their largest deficit when the home team hit their eighth three-pointer of the contest about eight minutes deep into the second half.

Tahlik Chavez scored on a driving bucket to give LA Tech the lead again at 55-54. And it was a lead they would not relinquish.  Sean Newman Jr. followed with five straight points, including a huge three-pointer from the wing.

NM State’s lone field goal late came after, cutting its deficit down to 60-56, but Isaiah Crawford countered with an old-fashioned three-point play. The defense did the rest as the Aggies missed their last three field goals.

After shooting just 34.8 percent in the first half (game was tied 26-26 at halftime), the Bulldogs erupted for 60.0 percent shooting in the second half. Crawford recorded his third double-double of the season with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. 

Chavez (16), Daniel Batcho (13), and Newman Jr. (10) were the other Bulldogs that scored in double figures. 

The Aggies were held to 38.8 percent shooting for the game, led by Christian Cook and Jordan Rawls who each had 16 points.

QUOTABLES
Head coach Talvin Hester

On the road win …
“We did not have the right mindset the first 25 minutes or so. I challenged the guys. We had to go out there and take it. You could see the attitudes change, not just the guys on the floor but the guys on the bench too. We made a concerted effort to get the ball inside since they were not going in from three. Good things happened then and were able to pull out a win.”

On the message during the timeout down seven …
“We were front running. We were jumping up and down when the ball was going in, but our attitudes were terrible when things were going bad. From the bench to the players on the court to the coaches, our attitudes had to change in order to win the game.”

On the final five minutes …
“We work on finishing the last five minutes of the half and the last five minutes of the game. We were strong mentally. We were prepared. When [Daniel] Batcho fouled out, we changed some things up and we executed to a tee.”

On the big baskets late …
“I know Sean [Newman Jr.] has been struggling a little bit from three, but I know he can shoot the ball. I knew over time those shots would eventually go in. He has always been dynamic getting down hill. Isaiah was Isaiah. This has been one of his most consistent stretches ever as a Bulldog.”

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