MARSHALL, Texas – Sophomore guard Bailey Hardy doubled his previous career high in scoring on the night, but it was a hot shooting second half for East Texas Baptist that overwhelmed the Louisiana College men’s basketball team as the Wildcats fell to the Tigers 72-59 Thursday night at Ornelas Gymnasium.
The Wildcats would have to battle back early as a 7-0 ETBU run gave the Tigers an early 9-2 advantage. But LC clawed its way back into the contest, slowly working that lead down until Bailey Hardy hit a corner three to tie the score back up at 16-16. Hardy followed that up by working his way into the paint and hit a mid-range jumper to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game at 18-16 with seven minutes remaining before halftime. Over those final seven minutes, the two teams swapped the lead three more times with a couple of ties thrown in there as well before ETBU eventually took a 30-27 lead into the locker room.
But the second half proved to be not a good one for LC as the Tigers came out of the half and pumped the Wildcat deficit up to eight points. And from there, LC’s hopes of a comeback slipped further away under a barrage of a team hitting 61.5% in the period to slowly pull away, even as LC did its best to keep contact, only allowing ETBU (10-5, 4-2 ASC) to get its largest lead of the game inside of the final 2:30 of the game. And even then, the Wildcats never kept fighting, cutting the deficit back down to nine points with a minute remaining following a pair of free throws by Kae’ron Baker that made the score 68-59.
Bailey Hardy doubled his single game points high as a Wildcat, putting in 22 points against the Tigers on nine of 14 shooting with a pair of three-pointers. He also grabbed seven rebounds and was credited with a blocked shot. Ferontay Banks was the only other Wildcat in double figures, getting 15 points on six made shots, including a trio of triples.
LC shot well in the contest, hitting 47.1% from the field, 50% from long range, and six of eight at the free throw line. However, 24 turnovers helped play a role in the defeat.
The Wildcats (4-2, 4-2 ASC) look to get back on the winning side of the ledger on Saturday afternoon when LC heads to Longview, Texas to take on LeTourneau. Tip off against the Yellow Jackets (4-1, 2-1 ASC) is set for 3:00 P.M. at Solheim Arena.