Louisiana College earns 1st win of the season
The Louisiana College men’s basketball team erased a double-digit first-half deficit Monday night to pick up its first win of the season 96-86 against Birmingham-Southern College.
The sophomore duo of Taylan Grogan, a Patterson High alum, and Nick Burks combined for 38 points along with a 16-point, 16-rebound effort from big man Devon Washington.
In Monday’s win, Birmingham-Southern came out shooting early in the game, knocking down several shots from long range that helped it build an early double-digit advantage. Four of the first five shots the Panthers converted were behind the arc and gave them a 14-6 lead through the game’s first six and a half minutes.
Louisiana College got within a couple of possessions at the under 12-minute media timeout, but a 9-2 run by the Panthers stretched their lead to 25-13 by the next break.
Still down by double figures with 3:40 left in the half, the Wildcats began to erase the Birmingham-Southern lead. A three-ball by Timothy Stokes and a fast-break layup from Torrian Lee quickly cut the lead to six with just under three minutes remaining. A steal from Stokes on the next possession and another three from freshman Lashard Powell made it a 35-32 game at the 2:26 mark of the half.
Birmingham-Southern converted two jumpers in the final two minutes, but two clutch three-point shots in the final 70 seconds from Lee, including a halftime buzzer beater, made it a 41-38 game at the half.
Louisiana College carried its momentum into the second half, taking the lead for the first time with four straight points on a layup from Rex Hollis and two free throws from Devon Washington to go on top 42-41 just 30 seconds into the second half.
The Birmingham-Southern pressure would lead to three straight Louisiana College turnovers and a stretch of 10 straight Panther points to turn the game back to the home team’s favor less than a minute later.
The Wildcats settled themselves after the point blitz and began working their way back to the lead.
Solid shooting during the next six minutes led to a 23-7 Louisiana College run that put them ahead 65-58 at the midway point of the second half. The Wildcats went 9-of-14 from the floor during that stretch, including 2-for-2 from the free throw line, to put themselves in good position to pick up their first win of the season.
The Wildcats had the lead, and with by far their best free-throw shooting performance of the season, Louisiana College iced the game from the line during the final two minutes. The Wildcats went 11-for-12 from the line in the final 1:42 of the game and 22-of-23 for the night, compared to an 11-for-20 effort from Birmingham-Southern.
Washington had one of his best games for Louisiana College with his first double-double of the season. Grogan led the Wildcats with 23 points, Burks finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and Lejawon Leblanc was the fourth Wildcat in double digits with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Stokes added seven points and seven assists. In addition to his point total, Grogan had two rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Wildcats return to American Southwest Conference play later this week at Rapides Coliseum, facing Sul Ross State University Thursday at 7:30 pm. They then host Howard Payne University Saturday at 4 p.m. in their final game before Christmas. This weekend’s games are the last home games for the Wildcats until Jan. 18.
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