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Men’s college basketball: Louisiana Tech picks up another road victory

by Russell Hedges

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

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — For the third time in seven days, Louisiana Tech faced a hostile environment on the road.

And for the third time, the Bulldogs came away victorious, silencing a crowd of 5,658 by defeating WKU, 90-84, on Wednesday night inside E.A. Diddle Arena.

LA Tech (21-8, 11-3 CUSA) took the lead after a made layup by Isaiah Crawford with 9:27 to go in the first half. And the Bulldogs never relinquished it. Regardless of the adversity they faced.

That bucket was part of a 16-2 run that gave the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 36-23. WKU (19-9, 8-6 CUSA) would not go away though (a common theme throughout the night). The Hilltoppers buried one of their 12 three-pointers right before half to slice their deficit down to seven, 47-40, at the midway point.

LA Tech was equally as hot from beyond the arc, making 11. And they were all big. Tahlik Chavez made four in his first appearance against WKU, Devin Ree made two, Sean Newman Jr. sank two, and Tyler Henry drilled both of his attempts.

Chavez and Henry buried back-to-back triples as the Bulldogs kept trying to keep the Hilltoppers at bay, up 65-56 with 11:58 left. WKU, the highest scoring offense in the league, was going to eventually go on a run … and it came in the form of a 12-2 (seven of those free throws) to get to within one point with 3:55 still remaining.

It stayed a one-possession game until Newman Jr. found a driving Daniel Batchowho nearly brought the rim down with a thunderous dunk, going up 84-79 with 1:54 left. However, the Hilltoppers would still not go away, getting a stepback three-pointer by Brandon Newman.

WKU would get a defensive stop and have a chance to tie or take the lead, but Batcho denied Teagan Moore with his fourth block of the game. The Bulldogs would go on to make all six of their free throws in the closing minute (made a season-high 25, going 16-of-17 in the second half) to seal it.

Five Bulldogs scored in double figures – Crawford (20), Newman Jr. (19), Chavez (16), Batcho (15), and Henry (11). Newman Jr. controlled nearly the whole game, flirting with a triple-double with eight assists and seven boards. 

The Hilltoppers also had five players in double figures, led by Moore with a game-high 22 points.

QUOTABLES
Head coach Talvin Hester

On closing out the game …
“I saw the willingness not to lose. I think the team understands that for us to be who we want to be, they are going to have to do tough things. And they have continued to show that on the road. They continue to show they are willing to improve and fight. There were hard times in this game where things were going wrong, but we stuck together and closed the game out.”

On having an answer numerous times …
Isaiah Crawford was in attack mode getting to the free throw line all night. That is who he has to be for us to win games. We had five guys in double figures. To win on the road scoring 90, I prefer not to win that way, but we will take them any way we can get them.”

On Sean Newman Jr. …
“He has gotten better every day. I have been screaming how he is our leader, he is our point guard. He showed it tonight. People thought he could not shoot, but I knew there would be a time where the ball would start falling for him. He is a dynamic basketball player.”

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