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Louisiana Tech beats Western Kentucky 69-56

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RUSTON, La. (AP) Raheem Appleby and Alex Hamilton scored 17 points apiece and Louisiana Tech beat Western Kentucky 69-59 on Thursday to claim first place in Conference USA standings.

Erik McCree scored 14 points with 12 rebounds, Kenneth Smith added 11 points with 12 assists, and the Bulldogs (16-5, 7-1) won their 23rd straight home game.

Louisiana Tech led 11-4 on a layup by Michael Kyser, but Western Kentucky ripped a 12-2 run to take a 16-13 lead. The Hilltoppers went scoreless for four minutes while the Bulldogs scored 13 unanswered points and led 31-23 at halftime.

The Bulldogs opened the second half with an 11-4 run, but the Hilltoppers gained ground on a 12-2 run and pulled within 49-41 on a 3-pointer by DJ Clayton. Hamilton, Smith and Appleby each hit 3s and the Bulldogs pulled ahead 57-45 with 7:10 left, then finished with a 10-5 run.

T.J. Price led Western Kentucky (14-6, 7-1) with 17 points and 10 rebounds and George Fant scored 15.