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Conference struggles continue for Dunkin’ Dogs

January 23, 2018

 

Andrew Bell 

Sports Editor

 

The Dunkin’ Dogs’ game against UAB on Jan. 13 symbolized their season as a whole, so far: a promising start and a not-so-great follow-up.

 

A short-handed Louisiana Tech basketball team dropped yet another conference game to UAB (13-5, 4-1 C-USA) by a score of 74-62, to adjust their record to 10-9 overall and 1-5 in C-USA.

 

Without starting point guard Daquan Bracey in the lineup due to a back injury and guard Jalen Harris out for good after declaring that he will transfer, head coach Eric Konkol has been forced to rely on a few younger pieces lately.

 

“Amorie really stepped up for us,” Konkol said. “He is gaining more and more confidence and great experience. To make a start in this environment against a really good team and have a double-double, the way he commanded the offense says a lot about him.”

 

Freshmen Amorie Archibald, Anthony Duruji and Exavian Christon combined for 83 minutes played Saturday, after previously averaging only 46.5 minutes played per game amongst the three of them. Although Archibald recorded his first ever double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, the lack of experience on the court proved to be detrimental late in the game.

 

Konkol got his squad off to a decent start with a 40-39 lead at the half, but struggled to maintain that level of play in the second half, getting outscored by 13 points to close out their fifth loss out of their last six games.

 

Some other key contributors for Tech included senior guard Jacobi Boykins with a team high 16 points, junior guard Derric Jean who scored 15 points and snatched down five rebounds and sophomore forward Oliver Powell who dropped 10 points and grabbed six boards.

 

“I thought we played hard and really competed,” Konkol said. “In the second half, from an execution standpoint, we just weren’t able to accomplish what we wanted to on offense and defense. Turnovers really hurt us and their interior play hurt us.”

 

The interior play Coach Konkol mentioned was in reference to the effectiveness of the UAB frontcourt. Tech was hoping the return of redshirt junior center Joniah White would help their rim protection against the Blazers, but the opposite occurred. UAB outscored Tech 40-24 in the paint, with the help of star senior forward Chris Cokley, who scored 24 points on 11/17 shooting from the field, to go along with seven rebounds.

 

Tech also turned the ball over 18 times in the contest, as opposed to UAB’s 13, resulting in 22 points scored by the Blazers off of those turnovers.

 

“We have to just keep plugging away,” Konkol said. “We have to keep learning from these experiences and find ways to be successful on both ends of the floor.”

 

Tech looks to bounce back Jan. 18, as they take on North Texas (10-8, 3-2) at the Thomas Assembly Center, beginning a three-game home stretch.

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