CONCORDIA – Starting one of their toughest stretches of the season, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team would get outscored 28-5 in points off turnovers as part of a 90-63 home loss to Butler Community College in their Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference East Division Opener inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Monday.
Falling below .500 for the first time this season, CCCC is now 4-5 overall and 2-5 in the KJCCC while the Grizzlies improved to 8-2 overall and 6-2 in the Jayhawk Conference after receiving votes in the latest NJCAA Men's Basketball Top-25 poll on Monday.
Early on would be a game of runs as the Grizzlies would jump out to score the first six points of the contest before seeing Cloud County come back with a pair of Malang Athian free throws and a Dyelan Reed triple to get back within one with 17 minutes left in the first half. The two teams would then go on to trade the next six points as Butler would manage to maintain their lead despite seeing the T-Birds threaten to grab the lead on multiple occasions.
The trend would continue all the way to the first half media timeout with 9:27 remaining in the opening period as BCC would manage to open up a 17-13 lead and extend it to a six-point gap with a pair of Donyae McCaskill free throws to set things up for the final 10 minutes of the first half. As the period continued, Butler would begin to finally extend their lead as things would grow to a 10-point margin at 25-15 with 7:03 remaining before seeing the T-Birds manage to come back with five of the next six to get back within six at 26-20.
Eight straight points from the Grizzlies would get CCCC head coach Jordan Altman to use a timeout to regroup as Cloud County could begin to feel the game slipping away heading into the final five minutes of the first half. Down the stretch, the T-Birds would manage to limit the damage any more as Butler would maintain their lead to take a 39-24 lead into intermission.
It wouldn't take long for Butler to add to their lead out of halftime as the Grizzlies would go on a 10-4 run in the opening three-plus minutes of action to push their lead out to 50-28 and put CCCC on the ropes. Cloud County would then go three minutes without a field goal as BCC would continue to score almost at will with the lead growing to as many as 25 over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
Five quick points from CCCC would allow the T-Birds to get the deficit under 20 in the final eight minutes of play, but fouls would begin to add up as BCC would take advantage of being sent to the free-throw line to keep adding to their lead. As the final minutes of the second half played out, Cloud County would be unable to make up any more ground on the Grizzlies as Butler would keep the T-Birds from ever having a chance to mount a comeback to hand CCCC a second-straight loss.
Recent shooting woes would continue for CCCC as the T-Birds would finish the game just 21-of-57 (36.8 percent) from the floor while also going just 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) from the charity stripe. Butler would manage to shoot just under 50 percent by finishing 31-of-64 (48.4 percent) from the field while also scoring 20 second-chance points and holding a 48-18 advantage in points in the paint.
Getting a career-high 22 points from Savian Edwards, no other T-Bird would manage to crack double-digits as both Zavien Smith and Detavius Frierson would finish with eight points apiece. Frierson would also add a team-high nine rebounds while Edwards had three assists. Butler saw a balanced scoring effort led by a team-high 20 from Isaiah Williams on seven-of-eight shooting in 19 minutes of action.
Arguably the most difficult game remaining on the regular-season schedule, Cloud County will travel to Coffeyville to take on the number-two ranked Red Ravens in a 7:30 p.m. clash on Wednesday. Coffeyville had Monday night off after seeing their game postponed against Neosho due to health and safety protocols and will enter Wednesday's contest with a 10-0 record and 8-0 mark in the KJCCC. In their last game out on Saturday, the Red Ravens eked out a 65-58 road win at Dodge City.