CONCORDIA, Kansas — A missed opportunity in the first half, and a tough final 10 minutes of the second half dash the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team's hopes of upending another ranked opponent as it fell 72-52 at home to No. 10 ranked Barton on Saturday.
The T-Birds (6-19 overall, 4-18 KJCCC), playing without starting power forward Breyon Jackson due to personal reasons, played toe-to-toe with the visiting Cougars (22-4 overall, 18-4 KJCCC) in the first half.
Cloud County held a lead as late as 23-21 with 3:17 remaining in the first half, and were down just 28-23 at the break, despite allowing 19 offensive rebounds.
The first half was a missed opportunity for the T-Birds to take advantage of 27 percent shooting by the Cougars due to the second and third chances for Barton on the offensive end.
"I think we let the game get away from us in that first half," said Cloud County head coach, Jordan Altman. "Nineteen offensive rebounds is high for a game total. For a half, it's unbelievable."
Cloud County was able to take the Cougars off the offensive glass for the most part in the second half, limiting Barton to four offensive rebounds over the final 20 minutes.
The T-Birds were within striking distance at the second half media timeout, down just 42-38 following a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Solomon Finley.
Unfortunately, Cloud was unable to build momentum coming out of the break as Barton responded with a quick 9-2 burst to push its lead back to double-digits at 51-40 with seven minutes remaining to regain control of the game.
"That 10-minute mark always kills us," Altman said. "We have guys coming off the bench, or coming off of rest, who come out flat. I need to do a better job with our substitution patterns because that's become a consistent problem for us."
Redshirt freshman Alvin Thompson led all Cloud players with 12 points on Saturday. He added six rebounds and two assists.
Redshirt sophomore forward Ramion Burt Jr. went for six points and nine rebounds, while Finley chipped in nine points and four assists versus one turnover.
Up next for the T-Birds will be a rematch with Cowley College, which Cloud County beat 82-69 back on January 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
"We still have an opportunity for a season sweep against someone, so hopefully we come out motivated, we travel well, and we give it our best shot," Altman said.