PINEVILLE, La. (LC) - Behind a balanced offensive effort, with five players going for double figures, and a 40-14 advantage in bench points, the Louisiana College men won their 10th game in a row on Saturday afternoon 78-71 over Covenant College (GA.). The Wildcats were a perfect 7-0 during the month of December and will play their fist home game of the season next Thursday at H.O. West Fieldhouse.
Covenant took the early lead out of the gate on Saturday but it was evident early that the Wildcats had their shooting shoes on for the game. Three long balls on four possessions early put LC on top 12-7 seven minutes into the game. The Wildcats would go on to knock down 8-of-12 shots from beyond the arc in the first half, the difference maker on the stat line through the first 20 minutes of play.
The Wildcats maintained their lead from that point on the remaining 13 minutes of the first, with threes continuing to rain from Jaylen Rhone, Kae’ron Baker, Lashard Powell, and Queshod Young, the last of which gave the Wildcats a 34-19 lead with 2:38 left in the half. The final shot from distance came from Young with 33 seconds to go but was answered by the Scots’ Will Crumly cutting the lead back to 12 at 39-27 Wildcats.
Despite the big lead heading into the second half, the game would not be a runaway. The 15-point advantage began to evaporate as Covenant began to drain the long ball of their own. A 22-6 run over eight minutes of play gave the Scots a 53-52 lead at the midway point of the second half. The Wildcats quickly took the lead back but the final nine minutes of the game would not see a more than two possession lead for either team.
Covenant had the ball down 69-66 with just over a minute to go with a chance to tie the game. It was the stout Wildcats defense that forced a turnover that Baker finished on the other end on the fast break layup that put the Wildcat up 71-66 with 52 seconds left. A Scots miss on their next possession and a Rhone rebound force the foul game to start and hop the Wildcats would miss their free throws. They did not. Rhone and Denzel Austin went 7-of-8 from the line in the final 46 seconds to maintain the lead and seal the win.
“Covenant would not go away,” Head Coach Reni Mason said. “They are well coached and disciplined team, but I can’t say enough about our team’s refusal to lose! Very proud of our team for not breaking when they canceled our 15-point lead.”
Five players finished in double figures for the Wildcats with Rhone leading the way at 17 points and seven rebounds. The Wildcats return to American Southwest Conference play next week in their home opening weekend against Concordia (TX) on Thursday night and Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday.
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