CONCORDIA, Kansas — With 8.9 seconds left, down 77-74 in Sunday's conference showdown against Butler Community College, Cloud County Community College sophomore Deon Lyle raised up for a contested 24-footer and his team staring at potentially its second close loss of the week.
The T-Birds received an early Christmas present as Lyle was fouled on his desperation tying attempt, and the sophomore took full advantage as he made all three free throws, setting the stage for a dramatic 93-82 come-from-behind overtime victory over the visiting Grizzlies.
"It (Lyle's 3-point attempt) was off of an offensive rebound, which is a big play there to keep the possession alive, and we get the kick out. They (Grizzlies) have to run at Deon because he's such a great shooter and we're fortunate he drew the foul," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "It was big time of him to step up and make three free throws."
Lyle scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the overtime period, including nine straight, to put the bow on the win and fall semester portion of the season for the T-Birds (11-2 overall, 7-2 KJCCC).
Sunday's matinee got off to a rocky start for Cloud County as it fell behind by 13 eight minutes into the game at 24-11. The T-Birds would fight their way back to a 34-34 tie at half, but a 16-5 run during the first 3:15 of the second half by the Grizzlies (7-5 overall, 4-5 KJCCC) put Cloud County back in catch-up mode.
Cloud County methodically worked its way back into the game, drawing even with Butler again with 4:21 remaining on a layup by redshirt freshman Jordan McNelly.
Burt Jr. scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his 16 minutes, while Allen added 11 points and a pair of steals.
The fourth T-Bird in double-figures Sunday was sophomore guard Andrew Ballock with 12 points. Ballock flirted with a triple-double as he added team highs in rebounds (8) and assists (7).
Cloud County will get 23 days off for Christmas break before returning to action at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017 when the T-Birds host Barton Community College.
"I'm happy for the kids, happy for us. We had a really good first semester," Eshbaugh said. "We have a couple week here before we play again. Hopefully we can recharge our batteries and get ready for the grueling 17 games left in this conference."