COFFEYVILLE, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's basketball team hung tough with No. 3 ranked Coffeyville Community College on Saturday, but again were plagued by self-inflicted wounds in an 81-68 road loss to a powerful Red Ravens team.
"Coffeyville is one of the best teams in the country and it's easy to understand why," said Cloud County head coach, Jordan Altman. "They have 10 guys on their team who can step up and hit shots when they need to and get stops when they need to."
Cloud County (12-14 overall, 6-10 KJCCC) played toe-to-toe with Coffeyville (24-2 overall, 15-1 KJCCC) in the first half, limiting the Red Ravens to 37 percent shooting (15-of-41) to go into the break down just 37-30.
"We definitely got after it defensively. I thought the first 12 minutes of the first half was some of the best defense we've played all year," Altman said. "It just makes it tough when you give them the ball back with 26 turnovers."
The turnover bug affect Cloud County's ability to cash in on its defensive success and inevitably helped Coffeyville build its second-half lead up to as much as 23 at 72-49 before Cloud County was able to whittle its way back into the ballgame.
"You work so hard to get a stop and then to give the ball right back takes a lot out of you," Altman said. "We probably had 7-8 of our 15 second-half turnovers in the first three minutes of the second half to put us in that big hole. We realized with about five minutes remaining we still had a chance, but it was just too little too late."
In addition to their effort defensive, the T-Birds did see a few additional bright spots on Saturday, one being the resurgence of redshirt sophomore guard, Alvin Thompson.
Thompson, Cloud County's leading scorer at 16.5 points entering the ballgame, finished with a game-high 21 on 9-of-11 shooting. It was a big bounce-back performance after he was limited to two points in 11 minutes on Wednesday in a loss to Butler due to a nagging foot injury.
"I wouldn't say his explosiveness is all the way back yet, but he played with a great attitude," Altman said. "Alvin played with intensity. He was mean and he was aggressive. He wasn't going to let himself have another bad night, so he came out ready to play."
Freshman forward Edoardo Del Cadia produced a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while redshirt freshman Nysir Scott was the third Cloud County player in double-figures with 11 points to go with seven rebounds from the point guard spot.
As a team, Cloud County also won the rebounding battle on Saturday, 42-39, and held a 14-9 advantage in second chance points.
The T-Birds will look to build off those positives, and aim to correct the turnover issues, as they prepare for the final four-game stretch run of the regular season, starting with a 7:30 p.m. road game Monday against Cowley College.
"We have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot so much. Tonight we had the 26 turnovers when Coffeyville wasn't pressuring us or causing a lot of those turnovers. We were just soft with the basketball," Altman said. "I just want us to give ourselves a chance to compete and win ballgames (down the stretch). Tonight, I don't know if we gave ourselves a chance."