LSU Eunice Men’s Basketball nearly erased a late 12-point deficit as the Bengals fell to McLennan Community College 66-60 on Wednesday at the HPRE Center.
It was the Bengals’ (10-3) first game of the 2023 calendar as the team returned back to campus from the holiday break. LSU Eunice would have the hot hand early, using an 11-2 run to build a 16-7 lead halfway through the first half. Nasir DeGruy paced the Bengal barrage in that span, scoring the final six points of the run.
The Highlanders would respond with authority, closing the half on a 28-4 run to gain the advantage for good. McLennan would use 11 first-half points from Omarion Smith to take a 35-20 lead into the halftime break. The Bengals would not go down silently, clawing back to within a single possession in the game’s final minute.
DeGruy would again jump-start the Bengals, knocking down a three-point basket with 5:42 left to trim the deficit to 58-46. That would set up a frantic final minute with the Bengals throwing everything they could at the Highlanders.
Bryce Roberts would connect on a deep three-pointer with 49.6 seconds left to make it 62-58. PJ Dubuol would follow that with a coast-to-coast rebound with under 20 seconds to play.
The Bengals’ full-court press nearly forced a turnover on the ensuing inbound but was ruled out of bounds. McLennan would close the game with four crucial free throws to keep the Bengals at bay.
DeGruy led the Bengals with 14 points off the bench. Kiani Saxon added 10 points while LSUE had 10 different players score. LSUE would struggle on the glass, getting outrebounded 58-30 with the Highlanders bucketing 16-second chance points.
LSUE hits the road next Saturday for a final pre-conference tune-up against North American University JV. The Bengals open up LCCAC play on Wednesday, January 25 with a road date at Baton Rouge CC.