CONCORDIA, Kansas — A sizzling second half performance sent the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team on to its way to its 14th win of the season Wednesday night in an 85-69 home victory over Seward County Community College.
The T-Birds (14-6 overall, 10-6 KJCCC) shot 57 percent (16-for-28) over the final 20 minutes, and 69 percent (9-of-13) from 3-point distance, in what was a 49-31 scoring advantage in the second half.
Cloud County trailed 38-36 at the half, thanks in large part to Seward County's 6-of-11 mark from beyond the arc, but ratcheted up its defensive intensity in the second half, helping to spark the offensive surge.
The Saints were limited to 35 percent in the second half and were 3-of-10 from the 3-point line.
"I thought we guarded better in the second half for sure. We rebounded well so they only got one look at the basket, and us getting stops it let our offense get in transition and shots came a little bit easier," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "I thought we played a pretty good second half."
A quartet of sophomore guards led the way for the T-Birds as point guard Aamahne Santos scored a team-high 15 points and added five assists, while Deon Lyle went for 14 points and six boards, and Andrew Ballock chipped in 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Fellow sophomore Rashun Allen was also in double-figures off the bench with 10 points in his 20 minutes of floor time.
Cloud County's bench finished with 33 points as sophomore Lavar Harewood and freshman Rahjames Robinson also added key contributions. Harewood, who has been hobbled most of the spring semester with a foot injury, scored nine points, while Robinson tallied eight points and five rebounds.
"I was happy for Lavar. It's still nowhere near 100 percent, but he's getting back to it," Eshbaugh said. "RJ (Robinson) is an energy guy still learning the game, but he plays really hard. He gets us going sometimes with his energy and it's exciting to see him grow as a player."
Defensively, in addition to guarding the ball better in the second half, the T-Birds were successful in keeping Seward County off the free-throw line. The Saints (14-of-18) entered Wednesday with the most attempted and most made free throws in the KJCCC, but it was Cloud County (15-of-20) that got to the line more on Wednesday.
"That was one of our emphasis going in. We wanted to make sure we guarded without fouling and we held them to 18 free-throw attempts, which is a good number for us," Eshbaugh said. "The guys did a good job executing the game plan."
Cloud County will look to build off Wednesday's performance when it welcomes in Pratt Community College (5-14 overall, 3-13 KJCCC) at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
*Notes: With the win, Cloud County has now won three straight over Seward County after the Saints had owned a 30-12 all-time series lead.