The Louisiana College men's basketball team fought tooth-and-nail for 40 minutes on Saturday afternoon, picking up an 81-76 win over rival East Texas Baptist University. Despite some clutch shooting from the Tigers late in the game, LC was able to get the defensive stop they needed to secure the five-point win over their closest rival. The Wildcats finish the regular season next week on the road at Ozarks and Tyler.
The game was tight through the entire first half, neither team building more than a two-possession lead at any point. Twice within the span of three minutes of game time the Tigers cut the Wildcat lead down to just two points, but each time Kae'ron Baker would deliver a clutch three-ball quell the mini-rally from the visitors. The second such trey would start a 9-2 run for LC that would give them their biggest lead of the half, 37-28 with two minutes left on the clock. A late and-1 chance for ETBU made it a six-point game at the half though, 39-33.
The Wildcats would maintain their lead early in the second half until a defensive switch for the Tigers stifled the Cat offense enough for the Tigers to make a run at the lead. A 9-0 run gave ETBU their first lead since early in the game, but the Wildcats would adjust and find their groove offensively once again. Five long balls in six trips down the floor for the Wildcats ignited the Cats with Denzel Austin, Bailey Hardy, and Baker serving as the fire starters.
The Wildcats once again pushed their lead to nine with 5:39 remaining on an and-1 from K.D. Wallace. Again ETBU would cut the lead down quickly, making two key shots from beyond the arc to make the final minute more interesting. Devon Washington would serve as the catalyst for the win in the final minute, converting on a key layup after the first long ball and picking off a pass and dishing to Austin for the game sealing layup on the fast break to give the Cats the 81-76 win.
Baker had one his best games of the season with 26 points with seven long balls of his eight converted field goals. Freshman K.D. Wallace provided important minutes and play with his best performance and new season-best 14 points, adding six rebounds as well.