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Bracey, Jean pace Bulldogs at home

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RUSTON, La. -- Louisiana Tech's men's basketball team earned an 82-68 home victory on Tuesday, 36 years to the day after Bulldog legend Karl Malone played in the first-ever game inside the Thomas Assembly Center.

Louisiana Tech (6-3) won the turnover margin, 20-13, on Tuesday to top Prairie View A&M (1-8) on Karl Malone Court. Junior DaQuan Bracey and senior Derric Jean combined for four steals to only two turnovers. They combined for 39 points while connecting on nine made shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

Sophomore Exavian Christon, of Hot Springs, missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Bracey.

"I thought we took care of the basketball pretty well, especially in the first half with only having three turnovers," head coach Eric Konkol said. "Prairie View A&M has been a team that turns people over an awful lot.

"We didn't get off to a good start making shots, but once we settled in and let our defense help us play offense, it gave us an opportunity to build a lead, even though we knew Prairie View was not going to go away. We were able to keep them at bay just enough and make enough plays to come out with a win."

Prairie View went on a 9-0 run to to build a 13-4 lead with 13:03 to go in the first half, forcing a timeout by Konkol. Louisiana Tech missed on its first seven 3-point attempts until Bracey hit the first of his three triples.

The team hit its next seven attempts from deep, including three from Jean, to build a 35-20 advantage with 4:28 left to go in the first half. Runs of 14-0 and 16-0 in the first half allowed the Bulldogs to take a 39-25 lead at the halfway point.

Bracey and Jean went back-to-back on threes early in the second stanza to give the Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 45-27 with 18:03 on the clock. They led by 17 points with 16:33 remaining before the Panthers put together a 17-3 run to make it a one-possession game at 53-50.

A three-point play by Bracey and defensive plays by Jean allowed the Bulldogs to hold on to the lead. Louisiana tech led, 66-60, with 6:12 remaining and held Prairie View to just eight points the rest of the way.

"I thought those two were both sensational tonight," Konkol said. "DayDay with his penetration. He got it going from the three as well. He had really good command of the ball.

"Then, Derric Jean on both sides. [Gary] Blackston was their leading scorer and ended up with his one of his lower outputs from a scoring perspective. And then Derric made five threes. I am really proud of him for the way he has been fighting and getting better and better after missing most of the offseason. Both of those guys were big for us tonight."

Bracey finished with a season-high 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting with four assists. Jean also set a season high with 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting, hitting a career-high five triples.

Next up for Louisiana Tech is a trip to Stephen F. Austin (5-2) in Nacogdoches, Texas, on Friday. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. with the game set to be broadcast on the ESPN+ subscription streaming service.

Sports on 12/06/2018

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