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One streak ends, another begins

January 14, 2016

Matt Valcho

Sports Editor | mvv002@latech.edu

Derric Jean goes up for a layup in the 56-53 loss against Old Dominion. Jean missed the game tying 3-pointer as time expired–Photo by Brian Blakey

Derric Jean goes up for a layup in the 56-53 loss against Old Dominion. Jean missed the game tying 3-pointer as time expired–Photo by Brian Blakey

 

For the first time in two long years, the Bulldogs tasted defeat on their home court.

 

“I don’t even know what to say, man. I’m sick right now,” junior forward Erik McCree said. “I don’t know what to say.”

 

The second longest active home streak in college basketball ended last week following a 56-53 loss to Conference USA foe Old Dominion University. It is the first home loss since December 2013 against the University of Louisiana–Lafayette and the first home conference loss since January 2012 against Nevada.

 

“We lost to a good team tonight,” said Tech coach Eric Konkol. “I am proud of our guys for the way we battled. There were moments where it would have been easy to pack it in and say, ‘Hey, they got us tonight.’ But we fought.”

 

The Bulldogs found themselves down by nine with nine minutes left in the game but came back before ODU took a three-point lead in the final seconds. Freshman guard Derric Jean missed the game-tying shot attempt as time expired. A sign of how hard the team took the loss: Jean returned to the court later that night and practiced shooting from the spot he missed.

 

The Monarchs entered the game 8-6 on the season but returned all five starters from the previous season’s team that beat Tech 72-53 in Norfolk and made a run to the National Invitational Tournament semifinals. Not only was the Bulldogs home streak the second longest nationally, but it was also the second longest ever for the program.

 

A win against ODU would have tied the longest home winning streak in Bulldog history with a chance to break the record two days later against Charlotte. Instead, Tech went into Saturday’s game looking to begin another home winning streak.

 

“Every game is big for us,” McCree said. “We just have to stay strong defensively and come out and play hard for our fans.”

 

The Dunkin’ Dogs did just that. It was not an easy task, but Tech came away with a 93-90 win in overtime over the 49ers led by Dayon Griffin’s 28 points, including seven 3-pointers.

 

“It was such a contrast of our game Thursday night,” Konkol said. “It was an up and down game. We got behind early, but made enough plays to come away with a win at the end.”

 

The next three games see the Bulldogs leave the confines of the Thomas Assembly Center before returning home to win number two in what many hope will be another 39 game home winning streak against University of Texas–San Antonio on Jan. 28, four years to the day of their previous last loss in conference play.

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