Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications
RUSTON — With two starters out due to injury, other players had to step up.
That they did as four Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Tahlik Chavez who had a season-high 20 points, as Louisiana Tech remained unbeaten at home with a 68-55 victory over Nicholls on Saturday afternoon inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.
From the outside, it was Chavez and Devin Ree combining for all eight of LA Tech’s (6-2) three-pointers – five for Chavez and three for Ree. Inside, it was the dynamic frontcourt tandem of Daniel Batcho and Isaiah Crawford. Batch powered his way to his third double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds while Crawford had 11 points and a season-high seven assists.
The star of the game was arguably the Bulldog defense, which held a Nicholls (3-6) team with plenty of offensive firepower to its second fewest points of the season and just 34.0 percent shooting from the field.
Chavez gave the ‘Dogs their first separation of the contest, drilling back-to-back triples to give LA Tech a 14-6 advantage. After the Colonels cut their deficit down to four, he hit another that was part of a quick 7-0 run that forced a timeout by the opposition with seven minutes to go in the first half.
Nicholls made its biggest run late in the stanza, an 8-0 spurt that made it a one-possession game at 30-27. However, an offensive board and putback by Batcho and a second-chance three-pointer by Ree gave LA Tech a 35-27 edge going into halftime.
The Colonels continued to hang around, making it a 48-42 ball game after Jalen White (had a team-high 16 points) sank one of his four triples with 11:34 still remaining in the game.
LA Tech countered though, going on a 9-0 run that was capped off by yet another triple by Chavez. It was another long ball by Ree, who finished with 15 points, that was ultimately the dagger with 1:44 left, giving the ‘Dogs their largest lead of the contest at 65-49.
The Bulldogs owned the paint with a big advantage in rebounds (47-30), paint points (30-18), and second-chance points (21-6). Defensively, they allowed just 17 made field goals and held the Colonel’s primary scorer, Jamal West Jr., to just seven points.
Head coach Talvin Hester
Opening statement …
“We were going to lean on our defense this game. When one of your best offensive players is out in Sean Newman Jr., our quarterback, we just wanted to be solid, get the ball inside to Isaiah and Batcho, play inside-out basketball and play good defense. I was proud of the way we started the game. Really proud of our guys.”
On Tahlik Chavez …
“It is coming. He was in the gym this morning shooting. I think it bothers him more than it bothers us. It was just a matter of time before the ball started falling for him. I thought we got him some good looks. I promise you he is going to have a game where he makes more [than five three-pointers]. It is the nature of who he is.”
On Devin Ree …
“Proud of him. He has been working really hard. He is the youngest guy on our team and I know some days he gets frustrated. I have kept telling him he is getting better. He is understanding the system. He has gotten better offensively and defensively he is causing problems with his length.”
On the defense …
“We are getting what we want out of them. The biggest thing is we are making teams miss and getting rebounds. Daniel Batcho is cleaning up. It just helps your team.”
On the frontcourt …
“This frontcourt can be one of the best in the country. I think Daniel Batcho did not play great today, but he got 14 points and 15 rebounds. He has so much more room to grow. Isaiah is starting to get comfortable playing with a guy like him. There is so much growth in those two, and that makes it easier for other guys. We do not want to be comfortable with where we are at now. We want to continue having a chip on our shoulder.”
Guard Tahlik Chavez
On clicking more offensively …
“I have been trying to get back to the basics. Really focusing on my shot instead of rushing it. Now, I am getting back to what I usually do.”
On today’s performance …
“I felt good. At the beginning of the year, shots weren’t falling for me. I was always taught to keep shooting and that is what I am going to keep doing.”
On the offensive depth …
“That is a big thing for us. There are a lot of players that are capable. We took advantage of that opportunity today. It goes to show how deep we are. We can go into our bench and guys are going to play well.”
On what the team took away from the loss at New Mexico …
“Just staying together. We did not want to lose two in a row. We locked in on defense and stuck together.”
- With the win, LA Tech now leads the all-time series against Nicholls, 17-2. It is the largest winning percentage (89.5 percent) versus any opponent of the Bulldogs with a minimum of 15 meetings.
- LA Tech improved to 9-1 all-time against Nicholls in Ruston.
- LA Tech improved to 5-0 at home. It marks the 12th time in the last 15 seasons that the Bulldogs have won their first five home games.
- The Bulldogs remained perfect against in-state opponents this season (wins over ULM, McNeese State, Dillard, and Nicholls).
- LA Tech led for 38:16 for the game. In five home games, the Bulldogs have trailed for a total of four minutes and 14 seconds.
- The LA Tech defense held Nicholls to its second fewest points of the season. It also marked the sixth time in the last seven games the Bulldogs have held their opponent to less than 40 percent shooting.
- Tahlik Chavez set new season highs in points (20) and rebounds (seven). He made a season-high five three-pointers, giving him 304 for his collegiate career. He became the fourth Bulldog this season to score at least 20 points in a single game.
- Daniel Batcho notched his third double-double of the season with 14 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. He has pulled down at least 12 boards in four of his last five games.
- Isaiah Crawford scored in double figures for a fifth time this season with 11 points while also dishing out a season-high seven assists (one short of tying his career high). He is now just five assists short of reaching 200 for his career. He also extended his steals streak to 11 consecutive games.
LA Tech will travel to Nacogdoches, Texas to take on Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday, Dec. 5 inside William R. Johnson Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT and will be broadcast on ESPN+.
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