GARDEN CITY, Kansas — Battling back from a deficit is nothing new for this year's Cloud County Community College men's basketball team. Unfortunately, time ran out before the T-Birds could complete their comeback attempt on Wednesday as they fell 87-86 on the road to Garden City Community College.
The loss was the first for Cloud County (10-2 overall, 6-2 KJCCC) on the road this season and snapped a five-game winning streak.
"I really thought we were outplayed (Wednesday). If you're going to win road games in this conference, you have to really earn them and I don't think we earned it tonight," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "We put ourselves in a position where we trailed the entire game and (Broncbusters) controlled the entire game."
The T-Birds' were down 15 with 9:27 remaining when the horn sounded for the final media timeout before they started to gain traction.
Cloud County cut the deficit to single digits with 7:30 remaining at 67-59, and were back within three points at 81-78 with 1:19 left following a 3-pointer from sophomore Deon Lyle.
Garden City didn't flinch, knocking down tough shots at critical times to keep the T-Birds' at an arm's length, including two free throws with four seconds remaining that upped its lead to four.
The free throws proved critical, taking a game-tying 3-pointer out of the equation, as Cloud County did get a 3-pointer to drop as time expired.
"We made a good comeback. This team has a lot of character and you expect that from them, but I don't believe we were the better team (Wednesday)," Eshbaugh said. "Maybe the last five minutes, I thought we defended really well. But (Broncvusters) made some hard shots to their credit. We put ourselves in a position where we didn't have much margin for error those last five minutes."
Sophomore point guard Aamahne Santos carried the load, offensively, for Cloud County as he finished with a team-high 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting, adding five rebounds and four assists.
Joining him in double-figures was sophomore Lavar Harewood with 11 points off the bench, as well as sophomore Andrew Ballock and redshirt freshman Jordan McNelly with 10 points apiece. McNelly led the T-Birds with 11 rebounds Wednesday, giving him his third double-double this season.
Cloud County will look to get back in the win column when it closes out the fall semester at 4 p.m. Sunday against Butler Community College.