College of the Ozarks Bobcat basketball suffered their fourth loss of the season on Saturday evening in a battle against the Bellevue University Bruins in Bellevue, Nebraska.
The Bobcats opened the game with a three-pointer by Heath Carmichael and another by Klay Barton to take a 6-2 lead, but Bellevue came back to tie the game at 8. The Cats again stretched the lead to a 17-10 advantage with 14 minutes remaining, and maintained the lead through the next ten minutes of play before Bellevue again pulled close. The Cats headed for the locker room at the half with a 3-point lead, 41-38. The Bobcats shot 53.3% from the field and 55.6% from the three-point arc. Bellevue went 55.2% from the field and 33.3% from three-point territory.
The second half found both teams off to a slow start over the first five minutes of play, with CofO holding a one-point lead at 43-42. The remainder of the second half found the two teams battling for the lead, as the score was tied and the lead changed hand numerous times. With 22 seconds remaining in regulation, and CofO trailing 69-71, Brandt Cochran made a layup to tie the game. Bellevue took the ball down the court for the final shot, but missed a three-point jumper to close the half in a 71-71 tie. The Bobcats shot 45.8% from the field and 40% in three’s, while Bellevue hit 42.9% of their field goals and 12.5% of their three-point shots.
In overtime, Bellevue shooters came out with a hot hand, hitting 6-of-7 shots (86%) to outscore the Bobcats 15-6 and claim the 86-77 overtime victory.
The Cats were led in scoring by Ethan Davidson with 27 points, Heath Carmichael and Treydon Rackley each contributed 12 points, and Klay Barton tallied 11. Barton and Rackley posted a team-leading 4 rebounds, Brandt Cochran handed out 7 assists, and Carmichael nabbed 2 steals.
Bobcat Head Coach Steve Shepherd commented, “It was a great effort by our guys in a tough environment, and I am proud of the way they played—we just came up short.”
The Bobcats, now 12-4, will return to their home court next Thursday, January 3, for the McDonald’s CAM JAM game against Central Christian College of the Bible at 7 p.m. Fans will be admitted free of charge in exchange for 5 canned goods, which will be donated to CAM—Christian Action Ministries, who provides assistance for individuals in need from the Branson Tri-Lakes Community.