BOSSIER CITY, La. – Playing at a neutral site had no effect whatsoever on Louisiana Tech’s shooting.
The Bulldogs stayed hot, shooting 61 percent from the field anchored by junior Jacobi Boykins who had a game-high 24 points, to lead the team to a 89-55 victory over Grambling State on Saturday night in the first annual Shreveport-Bossier Holiday Classic at the CenturyLink Center.
Boykins ended up making six three-pointers, marking the fourth straight game he has made at least five from beyond the arc. He is now 23-of-35 on triples for 66 percent over the last four games.
Four other LA Tech (7-4) players joined the sharp shooter in double figures – Jalen Harris (17), Erik McCree (11), Omar Sherman (11) and DaQuan Bracey (10).
Meanwhile, this was the fifth straight contest that the ‘Dogs have shot at least 55 percent from the field. Playing against an undersized Grambling State (5-7) squad, they dominated the glass as well with a 40-17 rebounding edge.
“I was very worried about Grambling’s speed and the way they turn you over,” head coach Eric Konkol said. “We were very much expecting zone. We faced a lot of zone in our last game and did not handle it very well. I was pleased with the way we moved the basketball against their zone and the shots that we got. I am happy with the end result.”
The game started out much like LA Tech’s previous game – struggling to score against the zone and too many self-inflicted turnovers.
At the midway point of the first half, the Bulldogs held a narrow 16-11 lead with six turnovers to their name. Boykins then came to the rescue, hitting a three-pointer and following that up with a fast-break slam dunk after a steal.
The ball movement got better which turned into better shots which turned into a lot of made baskets. LA Tech ended up going 7-of-12 from three-point range in the first half with multiple three-pointers coming from Boykins, Derric Jean and Harris to have a 41-26 advantage at intermission.
Boykins opened up the second half with another triple to get things rolling and the Tigers would never be able to catch up.
“Jacobi can really shoot the basketball,” Konkol said. “He is one of those guys that when he misses, you are surprised. He is doing a great job of finding spots and getting into rhythm. His teammates have been doing a great job of getting him the basketball at the right time.”
LA Tech assisted on 28 of the 35 made field goals. Seven players had multiple assists, led by freshman point guard Bracey who tallied a game-high eight. Since being inserted into the starting lineup five games ago, he has dished out eight assists in every contest.
GSU was limited to 20-of-53 shooting from the field for 38 percent and 4-of-18 from three-point range for 22 percent. The Tigers were led in scoring by Ervin Mitchell who tallied 20 points.
LA Tech closes out non-conference play next week with two home games, starting with a Tuesday night matchup against Florida Gulf Coast. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
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