GREAT BEND, Kan. – After holding number 24 ranked Barton to a season-low 31 points in the first half, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team would be unable to a 9-2 run by the Cougars at the start of the second half as part of a 74-67 road defeat at the Barton Gymnasium in Great Bend, Kansas on Wednesday, January 8th.
The loss drops Cloud County to 8-8 overall and 2-5 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Cougars improved to 13-2 overall and 5-1 in the KJCCC.
Things would stay about as close as possible throughout the first half as neither team would hold a lead of more than three in the opening 20 minutes of action. After trading the first eight points of the game, Cloud County would go up 7-4 on a made three before seeing the Cougars go on a 6-0 run to take a 10-7 lead with 14:40 left in the first half to force a T-Bird timeout. CCCC would respond with layups by Iyen Enaruna and Sami Sanad split between a Barton layup with Enaruna eventually giving Cloud County a 13-12 lead two minutes later.
Four lead changes and two ties would take place over the course of the next eight minutes as Cloud County would be back up three at 25-22 with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, but the host Cougars would manage to score seven of the next nine points to go up 29-27 with 1:16 left in the opening period. A Chad Vincent-Simon jumper tied things up one last time at 29-29 as Barton would connect on one final field goal in the first half to take a 31-29 lead at the break.
Two layups and a made three by Barton to open the second half would stake the Cougars to a 38-31 lead as part of a 7-2 run in the first minute of action back from halftime as Cloud County would face their first deficit of more than three in the game. Cloud County would respond with an 8-2 run capped off by a Ndongosi layup to pull within one at 40-39, but five of the next six points would be scored by Barton to go back up 45-40.
The Barton lead would reach nine points at 54-45 at the midway point of the second half as CCCC would close the gap to three on several occasions just to be turned away by a spurt from the Cougars. A DJ Sims layup with 5:08 remaining would get the T-Birds within four at 61-57 but that would be all the closer that Cloud County could get as Barton would manage to pull away late and hang on for their second victory of the year over CCCC.
Cloud County would outshoot Barton in the contest after going 25-for-59 (42.4 percent) from the field while the Cougars would hit on 26-of-64 (40.6 percent) of their shots. A 40-37 advantage in rebounds for Barton to go along with a 26-17 advantage in points off turnovers would loom large in the game as the Cougars would net just 18 total bench points and use a 71.4 percent (20-for-28) performance from the free throw line to earn the win.
Conference leading scorer Jay Lewis would go above his season average to net a game-high 25 points while Enaruna put up 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The only other player to reach double-figures for the T-Birds would be Sims with 10 points and two assists as Denzel Ndongosi (six points) would be the only other player for CCCC to score more than three points.
Cloud County will look play their first of two home games in three days beginning on Saturday, January 11th when they host Pratt Community College for a 4 p.m. contest. The Beavers are 8-7 overall this year and 2-4 in conference action after dropping a 78-55 road decision at Butler Community College on Wednesday in a game that featured both of Cloud County's next two opponents.