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Men’s college basketball: Crawford has career performance in Louisiana Tech road win

by Russell Hedges

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

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — Isaiah Crawford scored a career-high 30 points as the CUSA Preseason Player of the Year led Louisiana Tech to a resounding 74-57 victory over Jacksonville State on Saturday afternoon inside Pete Mathews Coliseum.

Crawford was simply unstoppable, especially in the second half when he put LA Tech (13-6, 3-1 CUSA) on his shoulders. After scoring a mild nine points in the first stanza, he exploded for 21 in the second, making eight of his nine field goal attempts.

He was a force on the defensive end as well, notching a season-high five steals. His supporting cast was solid on that end of the floor too as the ‘Dogs length bothered Jax State (10-9, 2-2 CUSA) all day. Collectively, they held the CUSA leading scorer KyKy Tandy to 14 points, making his last field goal to tie the game up at 41-41 with 13:20 remaining.

From that point on, it was all Bulldogs. They proceeded to make nine straight field goals and closed the game out making 12 of their last 14, going from a tie game to a 17-point road victory.

Crawford made 17 of his 30 points in that 13-minute stretch. First it was a steal and fastbreak layup to cap a 9-0 run to make it 52-43. With the Gamecocks hovering around at a 7-point deficit with 6:36 to play, Crawford reeled off five straight points, including a bucket-plus-the-foul to push the lead out to 64-52, their largest of the lead up to that point.

Jax State was only able to manage five points in the final minutes (just one made field goal). 

After early turnovers put LA Tech in a 6-0 hold, the Bulldogs later went on a 16-2 run to take an 11-point lead. The visiting team took a 30-25 lead into the locker room, a lead that evaporated quickly in the second half when the Gamecocks started the stanza on an 8-0 run. LA Tech took the lead back for good when Daniel Batcho had tip-in with 12:47 left.

The Bulldogs ended up shooting 54.0 percent from the field (27-50), the best shooting performance allowed this season by Jax State who came into the game ranked 12th in the country in scoring defense. 

The ‘Dogs other primary scorers, Daniel Batcho and Tahlik Chavez, were limited to 10 and five points, respectively. The bench came up big though as Dravon Mangumnearly had a double-double with 10 points and a game-high eight boards.  Devin Reeprovided eight points and four boards while Terri Miller Jr. tallied six points and three assists.

Jax State’s Juwan Perdue matched Tandy with 14 points, the only two Gamecocks in double figures. The home team shot 47.8 percent from the field (22-46), but made only three three-pointers and committed 17 turnovers.

QUOTABLES
Head coach Talvin Hester

On the defense on KyKy Tandy …
“Dravon’s length can bother you because he is athletic, long, he can move like anybody on the court. He did an unbelievable job. Our bigs were really good on the ball screens. It was a great effort.”

On the effort to get the ball inside in the second half …
“Jacksonville State is a physical. We had to start just driving the ball inside.  Isaiah Crawford seemed to take this physicality personal. He started getting downhill, accepting the physicality. He was exceptional.”

On Isaiah Crawford taking the game over …
“That is what we need him to do. When you think of a preseason player of the year, that is the kind of performance you want to see. He was great defensively too. He had five steals. He had a really key block down the stretch. He was the Isaiah Crawford that we know he can be.”

On Terri Miller Jr. …
“Since they would not let us get points at the rim, we started feeding Terri because we knew we could manufacture points with his passing ability. When he does that, he opens things up. He is fighting like crazy to get back to 100 percent. The best is yet to come from him.”

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