Louisiana Tech downs UTEP 77-60

RUSTON, La. (AP) Erik McCree scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Louisiana Tech dominated UTEP 77-60 Thursday night to claim first place in Conference USA.

Raheem Appleby and Kenneth Smith scored 17 points apiece for the Bulldogs (22-7, 13-3), who shot 45.5 percent from the field. The win follows last Saturday's 72-53 drubbing by Old Dominion in which the Bulldogs' shot a season-low 32 percent.

Appleby hit consecutive 3s, McCree added another and Louisiana Tech led 21-10 midway through the first quarter. Appleby scored 11 in the half and the Bulldogs led 38-29 at halftime.

The Bulldogs continued to pull away on a 13-8 run early in the second half and led 51-37 after a dunk by Xavier Stapleton.

Cedrick Lang led UTEP (19-8, 11-4) with 18 points and 10 rebounds and Earvin Morris added 11 points. The Bulldogs held Vince Hunter, who came in averaging 15.6 points per game, to four points.

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