CONCORDIA – 18 turnovers and a 36-18 deficit in points in the paint would lead to a 63-56 home defeat for the Cloud County men's basketball team to Pratt Community College in Arley Bryant Gymnasium in Concordia, Kansas on Saturday.
Falling below .500 overall, Cloud County is now 8-9 and 2-6 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Beavers picked up their ninth win of the year to improve to 9-7 overall and 3-4 in the KJCCC.
Both teams looked to run and push the tempo in the opening 10 minutes of the game, but the pace would lead to a high-scoring affair as struggles shooting would lead to an 18-17 Pratt lead at the midway point of the first half. Things would be back and forth throughout the first half with 10 lead changes in the first 13 minutes of the opening period before the Beavers would appear to take control with an 11-0 run to go up 29-19. Defense would step up for the T-Birds down the stretch in the first half however as CCCC would get six straight points from Iyen Enaruna and score 12 of the final 14 points of the first half to trail by a single point at 31-30 going into halftime.
Pratt would come out and score the first five points of the second half, but redshirt freshman Ty Duin would have a response with an open three to get Cloud County back within three at 36-33. A 10-2 Beaver run would give the Beavers a double-digit lead at 46-35 as Cloud County would look all out of sorts until a Jay Lewis three would get CCCC back in the scoring column.
Another 5-0 spurt by PCC would give Pratt their largest lead of the game at 51-38 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game before seeing both offenses once again start to struggle from the field. The Pratt lead would remain in double-digits until the 6:32 mark as Michael Ozomah would get a rebound on the defensive end before hitting a shot on the ensuing offensive possession, but the Beavers would start to match CCCC in points on each possession. After getting the deficit down to seven at 55-48, Cloud County would see Pratt push their lead back to 11 with just under three minutes remaining as the T-Birds never would see their offense materialize to get an opportunity at mounting a comeback.
Cloud County would hit on 35.7 percent (10-for-28) of their shots in the first half, but struggle in the second half with an eight-of-26 (28.6 percent) mark in the second half to finish the game with a 32.1 percent (18-of-56) shooting percentage. The T-Birds would manage to hold a 19-11 advantage in points off turnovers, but scored just 15 bench points while seeing the Beavers get 32 points out of their bench and hold a 12-2 advantage in fast break points.
The leading scorer for CCCC would be Lewis with 13 points and four assists while Enaruna scored 10 points while being held to six rebounds due to foul trouble. Just three players off the bench would record points in the game, led by seven from Akene Agee thanks to a five-for-six mark at the free throw line.
Things don't get any easier for the T-Birds as Cloud County will play host to Butler Community College on Monday at 8 p.m. The Grizzlies are 12-4 overall and 5-2 in the KJCCC after having their Saturday game at Garden City postponed due to weather and road conditions. Despite the 12-4 overall record, Butler is just 2-3 in true road games this season.