The King Cotton Holiday Classic host team Pine Bluff Zebras came into day three Saturday looking for their first win of the tournament after falling to Landry Walker on day two 59-57 and the Park School in round one 71-62 on Thursday.
On Saturday, Pine Bluff faced off against the Houston Math Science & Technology Tigers, who defeated the Columbus Falcons on Friday.
Houston MSTC walked away with their second win of the tournament as they took down Pine Bluff 67-55 in the consolation bracket.
The Tigers came out applying a full-court press that rattled the Zebras from the jump. Pine Bluff senior guard Kaleb Higgins got the Zebras on the board with a little under six minutes to play in quarter one.
The Tigers used their size down low to produce easy offense. The defensive full-court press forced four early Pine Bluff turnovers, and the Tigers held a 10-6 lead at the first media timeout.
Out of that timeout, Higgins nailed his first three of the game. However, the Tigers would respond with a 7-0 run. Tiger senior forward Kevin Baker used his frame to establish position, and he was efficient down low on the block.
With a 19-11 lead, Tigers senior guard Torrin Mingo opened the second quarter with a three-pointer. Higgins then connected on an NBA-range three from the top of the key on the ensuing possession for Pine Bluff.
Baker scored his eighth point of the first half to give the Tigers their first double-digit lead. At the media timeout, Pine Bluff trailed 30-17. The Tigers were still applying their full-court press, and they refused to let Pine Bluff settle in on offense.
Pine Bluff senior Darius Morris broke the Zebras' scoring drought from the field, and with 3:26 to play in quarter three the Tigers were up 12 points. Higgins followed up with another deep three to cut the lead to single digits.
With under a minute before halftime, Pine Bluff senior Charles Harris knocked down a three from the wing, and after two the Tigers held a 35-27 advantage.
Coming out of the timeout, Pine bluff found ways to score, but they had trouble stopping the Tigers from scoring in the paint. Higgins weaved his way through the Tigers' press for a layup to make it 53-43 with seconds to play in the third.
Higgins opened up the fourth with a steal and a breakaway layup to cut the Tigers' advantage to single digits.
At the final media timeout, the Tigers led 55-47.
Higgins knocked down a couple free throws to make it an eight-point game. However, Pine Bluff couldn't string together enough defensive stops to cut deeper into the lead.
With 2:00 to play, Tiger senior Marlon Jackson scored on a fast break to increase the lead to 63-50.
For the game, Kevin Baker led the Tigers with a team-high 24 points. For the Zebras, Higgins scored a game-high 29 points while going 8-15 from the floor and knocking down four triples.