TYLER, TX -- The Kilgore College men had opportunities late in the second half to defeat the No. 7 team in the country, but just couldn't capitalize, narrowly losing to the Tyler Junior College Apaches, 70-67, in Wagstaff Gymnasium.
With KC behind 66-64 with 32 seconds left in regulation, D'Rell Roberts stole a TJC pass and was fouled, but missed both shots from the charity stripe.
TJC (23-1, 15-1 Region 14) responded with a turnover on the other end to give the Rangers (20-7, 11-6 Region 14) another opportunity with 19.4 left, but a foul sent TJC's Deandre Heckard to the free throw line with 17.9 seconds left.
Heckard made both free throws to what seemingly put the game away at 68-64, but Gooden nailed a 3-pointer at the other end to get within a point of the Apaches, 68-67, with 10.5 seconds left.
A bad Apaches inbounds pass and turnover with 10 seconds left gave KC yet another opportunity. Cameron Gooden drove the lane, but missed a contested jump shot as KC was called for a foul to put TJC back on the line with 2.8 seconds left, leading by one point.
TJC made both free throws for a three-point lead, 70-67. KC had a final opportunity with a desperation 3-pointer from half court as the buzzer sounded, but the shot was just short.
Roberts and Rodrigue Andela each scored 16 points for the Rangers. TJC was led in scoring by Keiffer Punter with 14 points, Shahada Wells (13), Heckard (12) and Jason Bush (12).
Up next, the Rangers will face Navarro College at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in Masters Gymnasium.
They will wrap up the regular season on the road at Paris Junior College on Feb. 26 with the Region 14 NJCAA Basketball Tournament beginning Tuesday, March 3, in Shreveport at Centenary College.