LUBBOCK, Texas — No. 18-ranked Rogers State couldn’t master the final step of the West Texas two-step as Lubbock Christian tripped up the Hillcat men 69-65 Saturday afternoon inside the Rip Griffin Center.
Things looked prosperous for the Hillcats early, building a 7-0 lead in the opening three minutes of play. But the tide turned and the Chaparrals mustered up two ties in the first stanza before taking the lead. A lead that the host Chaps wouldn’t give up and LCU led 37-32 at the intermission.
Seven minutes into the second stanza LCU’s AJ Luckey found Eli Baker for two of the Chaps 38 points in the paint to give the home team a 52-41 lead, the largest advantage in the second half.
RSU slowly chipped away twice pulling within one point off Donald Williams buckets over a two minute stretch beginning at the 5:24 mark. The Chaps built its lead back to four with just over a minute and a half to go.
Ken Holdman found the bottom of the net on a three-pointer from the left wing with a minute remaining to put RSU within one point, 66-65. A pair of free throws by Jamaal Crayton, who finished with nine points, put LCU back up by three with 24 seconds left.
The Hillcats moved the ball to midcourt and called a timeout. On the inbounds play the Cats found Williams in the left corner but his fade away three-pointer was off the mark. The ball squirted out to Kendrell Thompson but his highly contested three-pointer clanked off the back iron and the Chaps claimed the rebound. LCU split a pair of free throws and knocked off the No. 18 Hillcats, 69-65.
Baker tied a game-high 16 points for the Chaps as the junior forward grabbed seven rebounds. Lubbock Christian (11-9, 4-4) won the battle of the boards 32-24 resulting in 13 second chance points. AJ Luckey was the only other Chap to finish in double-figure scoring with 10 points.