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By MATT DEARMAN mjd003@latech



Tech basketball stumbled down the conference ladder last week, losing road games to San Jose State by a score of 53-50 on Thursday and to the University of Hawaii 74-50 on Saturday to fall to 7-17 on the year.

The Bulldogs now sit in seventh place in the Western Athletic Conference, with a conference record of 5-7.

Against the Warriors (14-10, 5-6 WAC) in Honolulu on Saturday, Tech shot a dismal 28.8 percent from the field on the night, including 23.7 percent in the second half.

“First of all, I want to give all credit in the world to Hawaii for shooting the lights out,” Tech head coach Keith Richard said.

“They made all kinds of shots. Whether we were in man-to-man or in zone defense, they found a way to score, even with contested shots.”

The offensive struggle also carried over to the free throw line.

Tech made just six of 13 free throw attempts in the game.

Trey McDowell was the only Bulldog in double figures on the night, leading the team with 18 points.

Hawaii, on the other hand, had three players with over 15 points in the game.

They also shot 53.2 percent from the field as a team.

“We did play really hard tonight,” Richard said. “Even in the loss, I thought we played hard. But you can’t play at their tempo. We wound up losing track of the scout and getting away from our game plan.”

Tech never led in the game, as the Warriors jumped on top early and slowly added to their lead off solid shooting from beyond the three-point arch, where the connected with nine threes in the first twenty minutes to go into halftime on top 40-28.

The lead continued to increase in the second half, as poor shooting would keep the Bulldogs from ever pulling within 10 points of the lead for the remainder of the night as Hawaii would cruise to the 24-point victory.

Prior to the loss at Hawaii, Tech was edged at San Jose State (4-10, 3-9 WAC), as the Spartans were able to capitalize on early Bulldog miscues and hold off a second-half rally to claim the 53-50 win.

Tech started off the night cold offensively, shooting just 23.1 percent in the opening half to find themselves trailing 24-13 at the break.

“I don’t know what happened to us offensively,” Richard said. “The first half was brutal. We did a good job of crawling back in it and making defensive plays in the second half.”

The Bulldogs fought their way back into the game in the second half, ultimately taking over the lead at 46-45 with just under four minutes left to play.

Despite battling back, the early deficit had left the door open for the Spartans as San Jose State rallied back to regain control 43 seconds later.

SJSU would be able to hang onto the lead down the stretch, as a missed three-point attempt from Tech’s Chad McKenzie at the final buzzer secured the win for the Spartans.

McKenzie led the Bulldogs offensively in the contest with 14 points.

McDowell was the only other Bulldog in double figures with 10 points.

McDowell also recorded a game-high four steals, as Tech compiled 10 steals in the game.

Following a home meeting with Idaho in Ruston last night, the Bulldogs will look to gain momentum in a non-conference meeting with Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, Missouri on Saturday.

Then they will return home for a pair of conference games against Fresno State and Utah State next week in the Thomas Assembly Center.

The Bulldogs will close out the regular season at New Mexico State March 1 before competing in the WAC tournament in Las Cruces, New Mexico, beginning March 6.

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