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Louisiana Tech Holds Off UAB to Move to 4-0 in Conference USA

UAB shot 58% from the field and their bench outscored Tech's 32-4, but it wasn't enough as the Bulldogs held on or he one.

Erik McCree led the Bulldogs with 26 points.
Erik McCree led the Bulldogs with 26 points.
Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports



UAB visited LA Tech in a battle of 3-0 Conference USA teams. 

The Bulldogs got off to a hot start by forcing a couple of turnovers and also by Alex Hamilton and Erik McCree combining to hit three early three pointers. Tech led 15-5 at the under 16:00 timeout.

UAB was able to weather the storm by breaking the Tech press and by hitting a couple of big shots in the half court. With 10:59 left in the first half, the Blazers had pulled to 19-14. Erik McCree was active for the Bulldogs early with 12 points and 2 tough rebounds.

UAB took the lead, 23-22 with 8:48 left in the half. Denzel Watts and C.J. Washington each had 5 points off the bench at that point for the Blazers. 

The Blazers forced a turnover of their own and used some bucks in the paint to push their lead to 28-23 with 6:55 left in the half.

Xavian Stapleton woke the Bulldogs up with a one handed tomahawk slam and with 5:55 left in the half, UAB committed their 7th foul. Alex Hamilton converted the one and one and Tech pulled to 30-27.

Two steals and two scores and Tech went back up 31-30. Denzel Watts answered with a three to put UAB back up 33-31 with 2:23 left in the half.

The Blazers led 38-35 at the half after shooting 59% from the field including 56% from deep. UAB held a rebounding advantage of 17-12. Robert Brown led the way with 10 points and Denzell Watts had 8.
LA Tech forced 11 first half turnovers, but their shooting went cold late in the half. The Bulldogs finished the half 44% from the field and just 40% from behind the three point line. Erik McCree led the Bulldogs with 13 first half points and Alex Hamilton added 10. 

UAB was able to take control of the game by slowing it down and getting good looks inside. The Bulldogs started the second half trying to speed the Blazers back up. 

Early threes by Robert Brown and William Lee put UAB up 43-37 with 18:24 left in the game. 

Erik McCree scored 7 straight for the Bulldogs to get within 47-44 with 15:52 left in the game. 

The Blazers pushed the lead to 57-52 with 11:32 left to go. Three pointers by Alex Hamilton and Speedy Smith pulled Tech within one and later Raheem Appleby hit another three to give Tech the lead. The Bulldogs led 63-62 with 7:50 remaining. 

Hamilton hit another three to put Tech up 68-66. With 4:40 left, Tech committed their 7th foul of the half and UAB hit both free throws to tie it Appleby came right back with a three to put the Bulldogs up 71-68. 

Tech led 73-71 down the stretch as both teams traded misses. UAB called timeout with 19.3 seconds left with a chance to tie or take the lead. 

The Blazers had a good look at a three, but it wouldn't go down. The Bulldogs got the rebound and were immediately fouled, but they weren't in the bonus yet.  

By the time Erik McCree hit one of two, there were 3.3 seconds left. The Bulldogs held on to win, 74-71.

McCree led the Bulldogs with 26 and Alex Hamilton added 20. Speedy Smith had 5 assists and moved past Wayne Smith (712) to become Tech's all time leader in assists.

UAB had 7 players with at least 8 points, led by Robert Brown with 14.