PINEVILLE, La. (LC) - In their most complete effort of the four-game home stand, the Louisiana College men had no trouble dispatching the visiting University of the Ozarks, getting the win 88-55 at H.O. West Fieldhouse. The Wildcats more than doubled their opponent’s offensive production in the second half, with six players going for double digits, while holding the Eagles to a 24 percent performance from the field. The Wildcats travel to East Texas Baptist next Thursday in the first matchup with their American Southwest Conference rivals.
Photo source: KALB
Saturday’s game started much differently for the Wildcats than Thursday’s where they missed their first 11 shots from the floor. LC came out of the gate on fire and jumped out to a 17-4 lead before the first media timeout. K.D. Wallace gave them six straight points at the end of the stretch that stunned the visiting Eagles.
Ozarks was able to absorb the opening blows from the Cats and began to work the deficit over the next 11 minutes of play. A 17-6 run by the Eagles erased the early Wildcat lead and put Ozarks ahead 34-33 with just over two minutes left in the first half. A three from Kae’ron Baker with 32 seconds left and a jumper just inside the arc from Travis Schultz as time expired gave LC the 38-34 half time lead and the momentum for a monster second half.
Another fast start, this time a 9-2 run to start the second, made the game 47-36 Wildcats just three minutes into the half. Ozarks came right back and made it 47-41 with five quick point, but that was the last time they would be close enough to see the Wildcats. Denzel Austin buried a three from the corner to answer and Jaylen Rhone took the rebound from a Devon Washington block the other way for a layup and the Cats were back up by 11 just like that.
There would be no looking back for the Wildcats this time, all too well remembering the huge lead that slipped away from them a week ago against Mary Hardin-Baylor that resulted in a three overtime affair. Shot after shot continued to fall for the Cats and the suffocating defense got even more breath taking, limiting the Eagles to just 21 second half points on 7-of-29 shooting and 0-of-9 from distance.
"I was very impressed with our second half approach," Head Coach Reni Mason said. "Every player contributed today and it was fun to see our kids have success together. We will need that type effort for the next stretch of games."
Six Wildcats finished the game in double figures with Rhone and Washington leading the way with 13 each, combining for 11 rebounds as well. Austin scored all 11 of his points in the second half, with three long balls in the mix.
The Wildcats take on ETBU next Thursday in Marshall, Texas for their first ASC East road contest. Stay connected to Louisiana College men’s basketball by following @LC_MBSK on Twitter. For general athletics news follow @LC_Wildcats on Twitter or like Louisiana College Wildcats on Facebook.