BRENHAM, Texas — Tristan Ikpe scored 24 points to help lead the Blinn College men's basketball team (17-9, 7-8) to a 90-84 victory over Lee College on Wednesday night in the Kruse Center.
"Our guys played really well and we competed the whole 40 minutes," said Scott Schumacher, Blinn head coach. "They did what we asked them to do and understood this was a big game. They relish every second playing in front of our home crowd, so kudos to the students who came out tonight."
Nic Tata, Azariah Seay,and AJ Rainey joined Ikpe in scoring double digits. Tata scored 17, Seay tallied 14, and Rainey had 12, while Pedro Castro was next with nine, and Calvin Carpenter scored seven.
"We have a lot of fight in us and knew this was a big game, so we had to play tough defense at the end," Carpenter said. "We all have the same mindset to win."
The Buccaneers went 16-for-17 at the free throw line to help build a 47-39 lead at the half. Ikpe led Blinn with 15 points in the opening quarter. Blinn strung together six straight points to lead 18-11, but Lee closed in on the Buccaneers 22-20. Rainey and Castro hit back-to-back 3-pointers to lead Blinn on a 10-0 run and keep the Buccaneers ahead 32-20. They held onto the lead for the remainder of the half.
Blinn opened the second half with six straight points and stayed ahead until Lee evened the score 84-84 in the final three minutes. Lee came close to tying the game earlier, but Castro hit back-to-back 2-pointers when the Runnin' Rebels came within one point (79-78). Once Lee tied the game, Castro made a free throw for Blinn to pull back ahead 85-84 and Seay scored a 3-pointer in the final 25.3 seconds to keep Blinn on top by four points. Blinn ended the game on a 6-0 run for the win.
"Seay's 3-pointer was really the dagger that separated us," Schumacher said.
Next, Blinn will host Coastal Bend College on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Kruse Center. The Blinn women's basketball team will open the doubleheader against Bossier Parish Community College at 5:30 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 41 NJCAA national championships since 1987.