Baker’s 35 propels Wildcats over UMHB

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PINEVILLE, La. – It was another extraordinary night for Louisiana College men’s basketball junior guard Kae’ron Baker, whose efficient 35 points helped guide the way for the Wildcats in a 92-86 upset of the (RV) Mary Hardin-Baylor Crusaders Saturday evening at H.O. West Fieldhouse.

The Wildcats never trailed in Saturday’s contest, quickly jumping out to a ten-point lead just more than four minutes into the contest on a Baker three-pointer that gave LC a 13-3 lead. LC’s first half lead would peak at 11 points on four separate occasions during the period, the final time coming with just less than four minutes before halftime as a Trey Ames floater in the paint fell in for a 38-27 advantage. UMHB answered with the next six points before a K.D. Wallace jumper gave the Wildcats a 40-33 lead heading to the halftime locker room.

Leading 42-38 early in the second half, a pair of free throws by Wallace started the Wildcats on an 11-0 run, which culminated in the game’s largest lead as KJ Bilbo turned on his defender and scored for a 15-point, 53-38, advantage just four minutes into the second half. But the Crusaders wouldn’t go down without a fight as UMHB got hot from behind the arc to start closing in on LC, getting the deficit all the way down to four points at 75-71 with just less than seven minutes remaining. But the Wildcats wouldn’t allow them to pull any closer, opening the lead again with tight defense and clutch free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach in the game’s closing moments.

“This league is all about match-ups, and we knew UMHB would be a tough match-up for us,” said Louisiana College head coach Reni Mason, “and to the guys credit, they answered the bell in a big way tonight. Kae’ron was special with his ability to score in a variety of ways while also distributing so well and making sure his teammates are involved. K.D.’s 18 points and seven rebounds were just as important as every one of Kae’ron’s 35 points. Both were very efficient tonight. When things tightened up down the stretch, the guys played with a lot of poise and closed out the game well in the final four minutes of the contest.”

In what could be considered one of the top performances in LC basketball history, Kae’ron Baker hit 11 of his 19 shot attempts, was seven of 13 from deep, and hit six of seven free throws to accumulate 35 points, as well as six rebounds and four assists.

K.D. Wallace’s night was very solid as well, going seven of ten from the field and connected on his four attempts from the charity stripe for 18 points, to go with his seven rebounds. KJ Bilbo was the final Wildcat in double-figures with 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

LC finished the night hitting 43.9% of its shots, including 34.5% from long distance, and 77.4% from the line. UMHB (10-4, 2-3 ASC) was held to 40.3% from the field, 34.4% from deep, and 81.0% from the free throw line.

The Wildcats (9-4, 3-1 ASC) look to keep their hot start in conference play going on Thursday night on the road at the University of Texas – Dallas. Tip-off against the Comets (10-4, 4-1 ASC) is set for 7:30 P.M. at the UTD Activity Center.

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