CONCORDIA, Kan. – A change of pace and second-half defensive breakdown would be the demise of the Cloud County men's basketball team in a 91-70 home defeat to visiting Colby Community College in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference action inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Wednesday, December 4th.
Cloud County now sits at 5-5 overall and 0-3 in the KJCCC while the Trojans improved to 9-1 overall and remain perfect in conference action at 2-0.
"Colby saw a weakness in our defense tonight in the second half and they decided to take us one-on-one which led to what became a 91-70 loss tonight" said Jordan Altman in a post-game interview. "I was really disappointed in our defense and especially our one-on-one defense as our guarding of the ball was not satisfactory tonight." "The style of play that's successful in this conference is guard play and our rotation of guards tonight wasn't able to help us get the job done as we had some other players step up in a big way." "We've talked a lot to our team about how we approach practice and we've had way too many turnovers in the practices leading up to today's game, so until we decide to approach our practices with a different mindset it's hard for us to expect things to be different in a game compared to our practices."
Both teams would look to push the pace early and get out in transition as both squads would match the other bucket for bucket throughout the opening four minutes of play. With the score tied at 7-7, Coby would get a Matt McFarlane layup and Alexandre Fanchini triple to open up a five point lead at 12-7 before eventually pushing their lead to 15-8 with 14:18 remaining in the first half. A three-point contest would then break out as Michael Ozomah would hit a triple before a response by Colby which would be followed by a trey from Akene Agee to pull Cloud County back within four at 20-16. The three from Agee would spark an 8-0 run by the T-Birds as Iyen Enaruna would get a three-point play to go along with a Ty Duin layup as CCCC would reclaim the lead at 21-20 with just over 11 minutes left in the opening period.
The Cloud County lead would grow to five at 25-20 before a 6-0 run by Colby would give the Trojans the lead once again, but Enaruna would be quick to respond with a layup to put CCCC back on top by a score of 27-26. Colby and Cloud County would then trade 6-0 runs to tie things back up at 32-32 as the Trojans would manage to score six of the final 10 points of the first half to take a slim 38-36 lead into the locker room at intermission.
After allowing a three by Colby to open up the second half, Cloud County would battle their way back to a 41-40 deficit following a Jay Lewis layup as the sophomore would drive to the hole in the opening minutes of the period to try and spark the T-Bird offense. Demarcus Sharp would get a layup and transition dunk to put Colby back up five at 45-40, but Dyelan Reed and Lewis would hit on back-to-back triples to give Cloud County their first lead of the second half at 46-45 with 17:06 remaining in the game.
Javion May would then get a three-point play for the Trojans before seeing DJ Sims do the same for Cloud County, but it would Colby who would have the response yet again with an 8-1 run to open up a 56-50 lead with just under 14 minutes remaining. The deficit for CCCC would reach double-digits just before the halfway point of the second half as Cloud County would begin to struggle on the offensive end while Colby would keep taking advantage of the opportunities provided to them. Trailing by 15 at 72-57 with 6:36 to go, Cloud County would get five quick points of a Ty Duin three and Enaruna layup before seeing the Trojans begin to pull away down the stretch and hand the T-Birds their second straight home defeat.
Cloud County would nearly match their shooting performances in both the first and second halves as a 14-for-33 (42.4 percent) first half would be followed up by a 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) performance in the second half to allow the T-Birds to shoot 44.3 percent (27-of-61) from the field in the game. Turnovers would ultimately lead to be the biggest issue of the night for Cloud County as 18 CCCC turnovers led to 31 points for Colby as the Trojans turned the ball over just four times while also holding a 44-38 advantage in rebounds.
Having a career-best night would be Enaruna as the sophomore would lead Cloud County in both points (20) and rebounds (15) while Reed would join Enaruna in double figures with 12 points. Ozomah (10) also reached double-figures for CCCC as the T-Birds would see all five Colby starters score at least 11 points to make up for just seven bench points.
Cloud County will travel to Dodge City, Kansas to open up a four-game road trip over the course of the next two weeks as the T-Birds and Conquistadors will tip things off at 3 p.m. DC3 is 7-3 overall, but 0-3 inside the KJCCC following an 88-57 road defeat to Butler Community College Wednesday and are still in search of their first win over an NJCAA opponent this season.