LONGVIEW, Tx. (LC) - In a matchup of two quality teams it would be LeTourneau University that would come away with the 97-94 win over the Louisiana College men on Saturday afternoon, giving the Wildcats back-to-back losses for the first time this season. LeTourneau’s biggest advantage in the game came on the offensive glass, picking up 16 rebounds leading to 20 second chance points compared to nine and 10 for the Wildcats. LC will return to H.O. West Fieldhouse next Tuesday night for another conference game against Belhaven University.
The duo of Kae’ron Baker and Jaylen Rhone got the Wildcats off to a blazing start scoring the first eight points of the game and putting the Cats up 8-2 three minutes into the contest. LC held that lead until an 11-0 run by the Jackets put them on top 20-15 nearing the midway point of the half. The LETU lead would only reach as much as seven a few minutes later with the Wildcats controlling play over the final seven minutes.
A pair of baskets around the three-minute mark from Rhone on consecutive possession tied the game at 36, but LETU quickly went back up by five with 1:35 to go. It would be Baker that would keep the Cats close over the final 60 seconds of the first with a three, and layup, and a near half court heave that found the bottom of the net as the buzzer sounded to make it a 45-44 game at the break.
The second half would see more of the same from the first as neither team was able to pull away from the other or build any significant lead. LETU had a seven-point advantage at the 11:01 mark but the Wildcats worked their way to within a point over the next four minutes after a shot and foul from Timothy Stokes that made it a 77-76 game.
After trailing for more than 10 minutes of the half LC would make a run with five minutes to go to regain the lead. Two free throws from Denzel Austin started things then an and-1 from Baker on the next trip tied the game at 83. A steal from Rhone on the next defensive series and a fast break dish to Travis Schultz put the Cats up by a pair with 4:12 left in the game. The Cats would eventually build a six-point lead on another bucket from Rhone with just over two minutes left, but they would not be able to put away the Jackets.
An 11-2 finish by LeTourneau over the final two minutes would be the final dagger for the Wildcats. The Wildcats had the ball, down by one with 24 seconds left but a mishandled dribble at the top of the lane and a steal from LETU sealed the game for the home team.
Both Baker and Rhone finished with more than 20 points on the night, with three other Wildcats reaching double figures. The Wildcats take on Belhaven next Tuesday night in Pineville with an approximate 7 p.m. tip-off. 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.