T-Birds record season-high 27 assists in 107-80 drubbing of Pratt

Redshirt freshman Jordan McNelly (31) passes to sophomore guard Deon Lyle (1).
Redshirt freshman Jordan McNelly (31) passes to sophomore guard Deon Lyle (1).

CONCORDIA, Kansas — On Saturday, as if the offense sliders had been turned all the way up in NBA 2K17, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team put up video game like numbers en route to a surgical 107-80 victory over Pratt Community College.

The T-Birds shot the lights out of Arley Bryant Gymnasium to conclude their mini two-game homestand, finishing at a sizzling 47 percent clip from the field for the game and 11 3-pointers.

The 107 points are the most Cloud County (15-6 overall, 11-6 KJCCC) have scored against a Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference opponent this season, while the 27 assists on 37 made field goals — 12 from point guard Aamahne Santos — was a season-high mark.

"We shared the ball really well and I thought we just played very well (Saturday), especially in the first half," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "It's nice to have a Kansas Jayhawk Conference game where you're not sweating down to the last 30 seconds."

The T-Birds jumped all over Pratt (5-15 overall, 3-14 KJCCC), which was allowing the most points per game in the KJCCC entertaing the game (93.2), as they built their lead up to 19 at 30-11 just seven minutes and 13 seconds into the game. They'd own a 61-39 lead at the half.

Sophomore guard Deon Lyle scored 20 of his game-high 26 in the first half, while fellow sophomore Andrew Ballock added 12 of his 21 points during the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Cloud County really clamped down defensively as it held the high-powered Beavers, who entered the game fifth in the KJCCC in scoring, to 33 percent shooting and just 40 percent shooting for the game.

Prior to Saturday's blowout at the hands of the T-Birds, Pratt was coming off of a pair of great games against some of the conference's best teams, earning a 100-89 win over third-placed Dodge City, and pushing No. 2 ranked Hutchinson to the brink on Wednesday in a 108-105 loss.

"I thought we were excellent on defense tonight," Eshbaugh said. "The guys really carried out the game plan, sat down and guarded. Pratt is a team that can do a lot of good things, has a lot of good players, and obviously has scored a ton of points this year. I was very pleased."

The T-Birds punished Pratt for its 20 giveaways as the they finished with a 34-13 advantage in points off turnovers.

Cloud was up 91-57 by the second half media timeout when they started to remove starters. The T-Birds then reached the century mark with 2:03 remaining on a layup from freshman guard Solomon Finley.

Joining Lyle and Ballock in double-figures Saturday were forwards Jordan McNelly and Ramion Burt Jr. as McNelly dropped in 13 points, while Burt Jr. posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds in 19 minutes.

Burt Jr. and sophomore forward Cheriff Fall were key pieces at the No. 5 spot on Saturday. Fall, who is still working his way back from a lower body injury, finished with six points, five rebounds, a block and a steal in his 12 minutes.

"We had great production from Cherif and Ray at that center spot," Eshbaugh said. "Cherif gives us such a great talker on the defensive end and is such a great leader that it was nice to see him moving well again. Then Ray was really good when he got his minutes at the No. 5 spot, rebounding the heck out of the ball and scoring inside for us too."

Up next for Cloud County will be a tough road test against Coffeyville Community College (13-8 overall, 9-8 KJCCC) as the Ravens gave Hutchinson its first loss of the season with an 86-85 win on Saturday.

Cloud County defeated Coffeyville, 84-75, back on November 26. Tip-off for Wednesday's meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.