COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Connecting on eight second half threes along with 17 second-half free throws, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team would overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to knock off NJCAA Division II No. 16 ranked Des Moines Area Community College by a finals core of 84-70 at Kanesville Arena in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday.
The win allows Cloud County to improve to 5-2 overall and bounce back from a Friday defeat to Barton Community College while the Bears see a seven-game winning streak snapped to fall to 7-2.
"The first half was the wake up call we needed as it was an impressive second half today that led to a win over a very talented Des Moines Area Community College team" said head coach Jordan Altman in a post-game interview. "I've been reluctant to get after our guys so far this year, and we really challenged them at halftime to fix some of the issues that have hurt us in games up to this point.
"The defense really stepped up in the second half to limit DMACC to just one three (on 16 attempts) in the half which really allowed us to get out into space and play our style of game.
"Overall, it was a great game to allow us to carry some confidence into our next game against Garden City on Wednesday afternoon to open up Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference play."
The T-Birds would start the game going nearly five minutes without a field goal as both teams would struggle offensively to get points on the board. Trailing 7-3 with 12:32 left in the first half, Ty Duin would get a layup to pull Cloud county within two before going another two minutes without a point as the Bears would score the next five points to go up 12-5. Three-point shooting would keep CCCC within striking distance as Chad Vincent-Simon and Iyen Enaruna would both connect on treys to pull Cloud County within three at 14-11 before seeing eight of the next nine points go to DMACC to push the deficit to 10 at 22-12. Things would remain a double-digit deficit for much of the remainder of the opening 20 minutes of play as Cloud County would be unable to cut into the lead until the final moments of the half as Duin would score four of the final six points of the half to put the score at 33-25 in favor of the Bears going into the locker room.
Des Moines Area CC would come out and hit a three to open the second half to push their lead back to 11 at 36-25, but Cloud County would respond by getting a pair of Jay Lewis free throws and Sami Sanad triple to get back within six at 36-30. The T-Birds would manage to close within four at 42-38 with 15:21 left in the game as a layup by Duin would spark an 8-2 run that would tie the game at 44-44 with just over 13 minutes remaining in the contest.
DMACC would reclaim the lead twice more just to see CCCC tie things up before taking the lead on a Lewis three with 10:19 left in the game. Lewis would continue to shoot lights out, connecting on another three to go along with two free throws to cap off a personal 8-0 run that would give the T-Birds a 54-48 lead that would eventually grow to double-digits at 68-58 with just over six minutes left in the contest.
In the final five minutes of action, Cloud County would push their 10-point lead into a 19-point lead by going on a 9-0 run to take a 79-60 lead as the Bears would not have a response for a T-Bird offense that would fire on all cylinders in the second half. CCCC would never see DMACC threaten to put together a comeback as the lead would never fall below 13 while cruising to the double-digit victory.
Cloud County finished the game by going 25-for-58 (43.1 percent) from the field after starting the game eight-of-29 (27.6 percent) while also going 23-for-28 (82.1 percent) from the charity stripe with the free throws providing a 12-point advantage as part of the 14-point win. It would be an off day on the rebounding side of things for CCCC as DMACC would hold a commanding 48-27 advantage on the glass, but the T-Birds would make up for it with a 14-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
Leading all players in the game would be Lewis with 41 points to go along with four rebounds while Iyen Enaruna and Duin would each add 12. 14 of the 41 points for Lewis would come from the free throw line as the sophomore would go 11-for-12 in the second half from the charity stripe.
KJCCC play begins Wednesday afternoon as Cloud County treks west to Garden City to take on the Broncbusters for a 4 p.m. tilt inside of Conestoga Arena. The Broncbusters are 5-3 overall following a 1-1 weekend in Odessa, Texas where they split games by knocking off Odessa College before falling to Midland College.