BOLIVAR - The Lincoln women needed a win in the worst way. The Blue Tigers got it.
Lincoln topped Southwest Baptist 73-61 on Tuesday night to take a big step closer to clinching a postseason berth in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament.
Lincoln entered play Tuesday sitting in the 12th and final playoff spot, a half-game behind Southwest Baptist. The win now vaults the Blue Tigers into a three-way tie for ninth place with three games to play and gives Lincoln the tiebreaker with SBU thanks to a season sweep.
Arriana Walker was the star for Lincoln, tallying 23 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. Quiessence Prices added 12 points and former Jefferson City Lady Jay Nesha Wright added 11 points and seven rebounds. Alicia Johnson grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked five shots.
Brittney Dukes led Southwest Baptist with 22 points and Jacqui Zelenka recorded 19 points and 22 rebounds.
Lincoln took a 31-26 halftime lead and began to pull away midway through the second half, a half that saw the Blue Tigers shoot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) from the field. The Blue Tigers took their first double-digit lead at the 10:51 mark of the second half on a pair of free throws from Price.
Lincoln held its biggest lead at 62-43 with 7:18 left on a layup from Wright.
The Blue Tigers snapped their four-game losing streak by shooting 27-of-59 from the floor (45.8 percent) and holding SBU to 31.5 percent (23-for-73).
Lincoln (10-13, 5-10 MIAA) returns home Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. game against Truman State (17-5, 10-4 MIAA). Southwest Baptist falls to 10-14 overall and 5-11 in conference play.
The Lincoln men nailed 16 3-pointers and scored a whopping 103 points. Yet, the Blue Tigers still found a way to lose.
Lincoln (3-22, 2-13 MIAA) dropped a 107-103 decision to Southwest Baptist on Tuesday night to fall 31â„2 games out of a playoff spot with three games to play. Truman State and Missouri Western, both 5-9 in the MIAA, have four games left and could tie Lincoln with four straight losses.
Cedric Ridle Jr. led five Blue Tigers in double figures with 37 points. Charles Cole tallied 21, Darius Whitson had 14, Montez Fifer added 13 and Mario Bass tallied 10.
Preston Guiot was the star for the Bearcats with 29 points, hitting 6-of-12 shots from 3-point range. He added 14 assists. Damion Hooks went off for 27 points, Rasha Brown-Peterson had 23 and Gilbert Gyamfi added 13.
Lincoln fell behind 29-10 before rallying to get within 44-39 with 56 seconds left in the opening half. The Blue Tigers trailed 49-39 at halftime.
Lincoln tied the game at 59 on a 3-pointer from Ridle with 15:04 to play and eventually took a 62-61 lead on another 3 from Ridle with 13:33 left.
Tied at 73, SBU went on a 15-0 run to take control of the game. Lincoln trailed 99-82 with 3:23 left before staging a late rally. Lincoln cut the deficit to four with three seconds left, but that was the final margin.
Lincoln hosts Truman State (8-14, 5-9 MIAA) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in a must-win situation. A Blue Tiger loss ends its postseason hopes.
SBU improves to 9-15 overall and 7-9 in the conference.