Feb. 8, 2017
GameDay Central | Game Notes
RUSTON ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" The Louisiana Tech men's basketball team has four road games remaining in the regular season and all four will take place in the state of Texas.
The first of those four is on Thursday night when the Bulldogs travel to El Paso to battle the UTEP Miners at 8 p.m. CT inside the Don Haskins Center.
After picking up two home wins this past week, LA Tech (16-8, 8-3 C-USA) finds itself alone in second place in the league standings. A logjam exists behind them though with five teams within two games.
The return of Jacobi Boykins played a huge part in the 'Dogs getting back into the win column with victories over WKU and Marshall. The junior shooting guard scored a game-high 25 points, one shy of matching his career high, versus the Hilltoppers.
He backed that up with an all-around performance in the shootout with the Thundering Herd, registering 14 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. Ten of LA Tech's final 15 points came from Boykins, including two three-pointers and three free throws in the closing seconds, to pull off the largest comeback of the season.
Boykins is now in the top 10 for single season three-pointers made (67) with a great chance of breaking the record if he stays on track with his 2.9 average makes per game which ranks second in the league.
His fellow scoring partner, redshirt senior Erik McCree, was his usual self. He averaged 22 points combined and recorded his league-best 11th double-double with his 30-point, 11-rebound performance on Saturday. As a result, the forward was named the Louisiana Player of the Week for a fifth time.
Junior Omar Sherman recently became the third Bulldog to average double figures at 10.0 points per game. The forward has scored in double digits in seven of the last eight games, shooting 59 percent from the field during that span.
The other two starters ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" guards Derric Jean and DaQuan Bracey ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢'Â¬" are right behind in scoring, averaging 9.0 points apiece.
After losing 12 straight games, UTEP (8-14, 6-4 C-USA) has turned a corner and won six of its last seven games to help put itself in fifth in the league standings. The last three victories have been the most impressive, winning at Marshall, defeating UAB and then handing league-leader Middle Tennessee their first conference loss.
The difference for the Miners has been winning close games. Four of their six victories in this stretch have been by four points or less, including two one-point wins in overtime.
UTEP is led by its two guards, Omega Harris and Dominic Artis, who rank one and two in minutes played during league play. Harris averages 17.0 points per game while Artis is averaging 14.9 points per game. Center Matt Willms is the third Miner in double figures, averaging 11.8 points.
LA Tech broke the series tie last month to give them an 11-10 advantage. The Bulldogs have now won four of the last five meetings but have struggled to win in El Paso. The team is 2-7 all-time when playing on the road in the series, the last win coming in 2015.
That tiebreaking win was a 66-44 decision in favor of LA Tech in the second C-USA game of the season. The 44 points were the fewest allowed to a league opponent during the Konkol era. McCree had a team-high 19 points and 11 boards.
Fans can access live video via the Internet by subscribing to CUSA.tv. The game can also be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network on KXKZ 107.5 FM (Ruston) as well as on the LA Tech X Mobile app. The "Voice of the Bulldogs" Dave Nitz will call the play-by-play.
Twitter users can receive live in-game updates by following @LATechHoops.