Wildcats Push Through Press to Upend Tornados
PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana College men’s basketball team fought though a merciless press put on by Concordia, going on a run late in the first half to open up a double-digit lead that was not relinquished again in a 76-53 win over the Tornados Thursday night at H.O. West Fieldhouse.
After seeing an early ten-point lead get cut all the way down to four, Jaylen Rhone got the Wildcats going again as he hit back-to-back threes to get the lead back to double-digits again, kick-starting a 15-2 LC run that K.D. Wallace finished off at the free throw line that turned a 20-16 LC advantage into a 35-18 lead, the largest of the first half and one the Wildcats would not allow to be closed down again. LC held a 17-point lead at halftime and saw the advantage balloon to as much as 24 points in the second half, the latest with just less than a minute left on a Jamael Owusu fastbreak lay-up that made it 76-52.
“This was a good win for our team tonight,” said Louisiana College head coach Reni Mason. “Concordia plays at a frantic pace with a lot of energy and it was important for us to match that intensity. I’m very proud of how we competed against them tonight.”
The Wildcats were led by Kae’ron Baker, who was absolutely on fire, hitting six of eight from the field and five of six from deep. He was also hit all ten free throw attempts he was awarded to finish the night with 27 points. Jaylen Rhone hit four of six from deep and five of nine from the field for 14 points to go with four rebounds. KJ Bilbo was four of five from the field, including a three, and finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Austin Denzel rounded out the rest of the leading scorers with ten points to go with four assists.
LC shot a solid 50% in the contest, including hitting 11 made threes at a 52.4% clip from the lady of plenty. Concordia (5-8, 0-4 ASC) was held to just 27.4% shooting in the contest and only 19.0% from distance.
The Wildcats (8-4, 2-1 ASC) finish off the conference home-opening weekend on Saturday afternoon against Mary Hardin-Baylor. Tip-off against the Crusaders (10-3, 2-2 ASC) is set for 3:00 P.M. at H.O. West Fieldhouse.