CONCORDIA, Kan. – A balanced effort that saw four players in double-figures and 36 bench points would help lead the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team to a 91-79 home victory over North Platte Community College inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Saturday, November 16th.
Finishing off a four-game home stretch 3-1, the T-Birds improved to 4-1 overall while the Knights dropped their second straight game to against a Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference opponent to fall to 2-3 overall on the year.
"We did a great job on the glass today and it made a difference as we didn't get the steals and turnovers caused that we are accustomed to" said head coach Jordan Altman in a post-game interview. "I thought we did a great job of pushing the tempo as North Platte is a big team with good size and we got to the rim in transition well." "Having the whole bench really step up and help to provide us with a benefit is definitely something you like to see as a head coach and hope we can continue to do moving forward." "Right now it's about fixing some small errors that prevent us from making tonight a 20-point win or being able to have a shot at the end this past Wednesday against Sunrise Christian, and having the season progress the way we want it to."
Cloud County would open the game with about as good of start as you could have, scoring the first nine points of the game while holding North Platte without a point for the first five minutes of action. NPCC would then break through with a triple and score the next seven points of the game to close within two at 9-7 with 13:45 left in the first half before going on to take a 12-11 lead just 27 seconds later.
Trailing 14-11, Cloud County would score the next five points of the game to go back up 16-14 before allowing a layup at the midway point of the first half to see things tied once again at 16-16. Michael Ozomah would give CCCC the lead once more with a pair of free throws to jump start an 8-3 run by the T-Birds that would be capped off by a Chad Vincent-Simon layup to force a North Platte timeout with 8:10 left in the opening period.
The Knights would respond by closing within a single-point once again at 24-23, but DJ Sims would hit a jumper on the next possession to put Cloud County back up three heading into the final six minutes of the first half. Cloud County would continue to be efficient on the offensive end, using a 13-3 run to take their largest lead of the first half at 39-29 with 2:43 left before halftime. North Platte would manage to close within six once more, but Vincent-Simon would put an exclamation point on the first half following a Dyelan Reed steal to allow the sophomore to throw down a dunk to end the half and give Cloud County a 45-36 lead.
CCCC would push their lead to double-digits in the opening moments of the second half and hold it throughout the first five minutes of action before seeing the Knights get back within six just two minutes later to put the score at 60-54 with 13:21 remaining in the game. After trading buckets, NPCC would be hit with a deadball technical foul that would allow Cloud County to score five of the next nine points to go up 68-60 heading into the final 10 minutes of action.
North Platte would continue to hang around and keep the deficit within six, but Cloud County would have a response each time and eventually push the lead back out to double digits following a Jay Lewis layup and free throw to make the score 78-66 with 6:41 remaining. The T-Birds would manage to push their lead to 14 at 84-70 before seeing the Knights score the next seven points to close back within seven with 2:30 remaining before closing out the game four of the final six points to hang on for the 12-point victory.
Cloud County would go 14-for-26 in the first half (53.8 percent) from the field and finish the game with a 54.2 percent (32-for-59) shooting percentage while hitting four of their five treys in the game in the second half. Cleaning things up some at the free throw line would see CCCC hit 22-of-32 (68.8 percent) of their opportunities at the charity stripe while also holding a 42-35 advantage in the rebounding department.
Lewis would have his best game of the season by scoring 22 points on nine-of-18 shooting and provide six assists while Sims would score 14 points and add one steal. Reed (11 points) would also wind up in double-figures along with Vincent-Simon who would score 19 points off the bench.
Cloud County will have six days off before facing off with a familiar foe in Barton Community College in the first of two games at the Iowa Western Community College Reiver Classic in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The game against the Cougars is set for 2 p.m. on Friday, November 22nd as the T-Birds will also play Des Moines Area Community College next weekend before kicking off conference play.