CONCORDIA – Exchanging 10 leads and enduring nine ties throughout the game, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team would fade late to fall to Coffeyville Community College by a final score of 74-68 inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium in Concordia on Saturday.
Cloud County now sits at 8-17 overall and 2-14 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Red Ravens improved to 18-8 overall and 10-6 in the KJCCC.
"We haven't been able to find a way to have someone step up in an end of game position and today was one of those days where we needed someone to step up into that role." said head coach Jordan Altman in a post-game interview. "Right now we are still looking for one of our players to step up in a moment like what was presented today and take over a game as this we let one get away from us." "The emphasis we've tried to stress to our players is that we need to have a better approach to getting better each and every day to be able to get over the plateau that we seemed to have hit."
The back-and-forth action would be seen from the opening tip as neither team would be able to take a lead of more than two throughout the opening five minutes of action. Following a Jay Lewis layup to tie things up at 6-6 with 15:57 remaining, Coffeyville would score the next seven points of the game to go up 13-6 before seeing Iyen Enaruna score four of the next six points to get the T-Birds back within five at 15-10. The Red Ravens would continue to push their offense to go up 21-13 on a pair of free throws with 10:48 left in the first half, but the T-Birds would score the next six points out of a 30-second timeout to get back within two with just over six minutes left in the period.
A 6-0 Coffeyville spurt would force Cloud County into another timeout to try and regroup with 4:26 left in the first half as the Red Raven lead would reach double-digits at 29-19 just 27 seconds later. Sophomores DJ Sims and Enaruna would then take over for the T-Birds by scoring the next nine points of the game and get Cloud County back within two with 1:52 remaining in the half. David Acosta would tie things up at 29-29 by splitting a pair of free throws as the two teams would end up trading buckets to end the half with Coffeyville getting a three to grab a 32-31 lead at the half.
Things would remain a 32-31 lead for the Red Ravens for the first three minutes of the second half until a Jay Lewis runner with 17:15 left in the game would put Cloud County back on top for the first time in the half. Another Lewis layup and Sami Sanad triple would put the T-Birds up 38-35, but a Coffeyville three as a response would tie things up at 38-38. Sims would split a pair of free throws to give Cloud County a slim 39-38 lead with 15:32 remaining as the next two-plus minutes would feature five lead changes. A 5-0 run by Coffeyville would give the Red Ravens a 47-44 lead with 13:28 remaining, but it would be far from the last lead change as Cloud County and Coffeyville would go blow-for-blow and exchange the lead twice more to go along with two ties before the second half media timeout.
Coffeyville would turn a 52-51 lead into a 55-51 lead with 8:35 remaining on a made three as the one point deficit for the T-Birds would grow to six within a minute of game action. The T-Birds would keep things close for the next several minutes, but empty possessions would lead to Coffeyville going back up 12 at 72-60 with 2:30 remaining. One final push by Cloud County would see an 8-0 run close the game back within four at 72-68 with 35 seconds left, but a pair of free throws by Coffeyville would ice things for the Red Ravens.
Cloud County would be hurt by a 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) performance from the charity stripe as Coffeyville would manage to connect on 20-of-25 (80.0 percent) of their free throws while also holding a 36-33 advantage in rebounds. CCCC would get 35 points from their bench players and score 14 second chance points despite allowing 15 points to Coffeyville on 13 turnovers.
Tying a career-high in points, Enaruna would lead all scorers with 20 points on the night with eight points coming from the free throw line (eight-of-10). Sims would score 14 points off the bench and record three steals while Chad Vincent-Simon scored nine points in 15 minutes of action.
Cloud County will need to bring their offense for an 8 p.m. home game against Cowley Community College on Monday. The game will cap off a stretch of three home games in the last four contests for the T-Birds against a Tiger team that is currently ranked number six in the latest NJCAA Top-25 poll.