PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana College men’s basketball team started hot and remained so throughout the contest and hit 13 three-pointers at a scorching 65% clip in a convincing 90-75 win over the Texas-Dallas Comets Thursday night at H.O. West Fieldhouse.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead as Ferontay Banks hit a pull-up jumper that gave LC a 14-6 lead just six minutes into the contest. But Texas-Dallas slowly pulled the Wildcats back and took its first lead of the contest with seven minutes to go before halftime.
Both teams exchanged the lead several times over the next few minutes until Louisiana College went on a bit of a run to end the first half to get the lead for good. Trailing 37-36 with less than three minutes remaining before the break, KJ Bilbo drained a three-pointer that started a half-ending 11-2 run that ended with Kae’ron Baker sandwiching a pair of dagger three-pointers around a pair of Comet free throws, the second three coming with the clock running out, to give the Wildcats a 47-39 lead at the break.
Louisiana College’s lead hit double figures for the first time in the contest at the 16:33 mark in the second period as Kae’ron Baker split a pair of technical free throws to make it 55-45 Wildcats. With LC leading 59-49 with 14 minutes left, Texas-Dallas made one last push to take the contest from the Wildcats, a pair of quick Comet threes started a 10-3 UTD run that cut the LC lead down to just three at 62-59.
After trading two points with each other, LC went on the run that put the game away for good as Ferontay Banks grabbed a missed Comet shot and pushed the issue, finding Baker open for another big three ball that kick started an 8-0 LC push that got the lead back above ten points, where it would stay for nearly all of the remainder of the contest as Banks capped the run by attacking the rim and laying the ball in for a 72-61 LC lead with 9:30 to go. LC’s largest lead came in the closing moments as Galen Smith, Jr. hit a bunny jumper just inside the paint to give the Wildcats an 86-72 lead.
“I thought our guys played hard and together,” said Louisiana College Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Reni Mason. “We knew coming in this would be a challenge because of their size advantage. UT-Dallas is an elite program, but again it’s just one game. We have to keep getting better.”
Just a week and a half after tying his career high in points in a game against Sul Ross State with 35, Kae’ron Baker went one better and broke that mark against the Comets by going 12 of 21 from the field, thanks to another career best with seven made three-pointers, to finish the game with 36 points. He also added another career high with six steals in the contest.
Galen Smith, Jr. & Bailey Hardy each finished the contest with 16 points with Smith also contributing seven rebounds while Hardy hit four shots from long distance. KJ Bilbo rounded out the leading scorers with ten points, going two of three from three and hit all four free throws he was awarded.
The Wildcats (4-1, 4-1 ASC) now have Saturday off following the cancelation of their home game against University of the Ozarks. LC’s next contest will be a week from Thursday as the Wildcats head to Marshall, Texas to take on East Texas Baptist University. Tip-off between the Wildcats and Tigers is set for 7:30 P.M. on January 28th at Ornelas Gymnasium.