Rebounding, McCree are the key to on-the-road success

February 21, 2017


Alex Heard
Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu


Robitussin or NyQuil were not involved, but the Louisiana Tech men’s basketball team gave the University of Texas-San Antonio a taste of its own medicine. 


UTSA came into Saturday’s game as the Conference-USA’s best rebounding team.


However, that statistic meant nothing to Tech as the Bulldogs outrebounded the Miners 35-32 helping result in a 72-66 road victory.


Eric Konkol, head coach at Tech, said out of all of the game’s silver linings, rebounding was the most impressive and the biggest key factor to the victory.


“I am most happy about our rebounding,” Konkol said. “This was an elite rebounding team we were facing. I thought our guys’ focus was at a very high level with what we needed to do defensively. It was the difference.”


The victory was not a complete domination by any means as Tech found itself in a similar situation to what it faced the last time the two teams met.


Just like that game back in early January, Tech held a lead for the majority of the game until UTSA was able to hit a couple of late 3-pointers to pull to within a possession of tying things up.


Konkol said the two games were eerily similar, mostly because a certain similar, difficult shot being able to find a way in the basket.


“There was some déjà vu because they hit a really tough three off the glass and we knew they were going to keep coming as us,” Konkol said. “The experience has been good and sometimes even the heartbreak has been good (with playing in close games). It allows you to take a look at things and see what you can get better at.”


In addition to rebounding, yet again in another game, the outstanding play of redshirt senior forward Erik McCree down the stretch helped Tech close it out.


After UTSA’s miraculous shot, Tech closed the deal in large part due to McCree, who had a game-high 25 points, hitting a career-high six 3-pointers. He also came through big defensively with a key block in the final seconds to take the victory inside the Convocation Center, completing a road, C-USA sweep of UTSA and the University of Texas-El Paso.


Konkol said the more season progresses, the more McCree’s play does as well.


“I think Erik is getting better and better,” Konkol said. “He is so focused on doing whatever it takes to be successful. Today, it was rebounding and scoring. He made all of his free throws, he had three assists. He is growing as a player and as a coach that is what you always want for your guys.”


Tech plays Florida Atlantic University at 6:30 p.m. today in Boca Raton, Florida.


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