College of the Ozarks men’s basketball upset top seeded Indiana University Northwest in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament Quarterfinals on Saturday, 105-90.
The Bobcats opened the game with an 11-3 run fueled by a pair of Brandt Cochran assists to Treydon Rackley and Heath Carmichael for three-point makes. After an Indiana University Northwest timeout, the Redhawks responded and settled-in with a couple three-point makes of their own to cut the lead to five with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. Then, over the next three minutes, Brandt Cochran led another run with a trio of three-point makes to push the C of O lead to 16.
For the remainder of the half, C of O complemented their hot shooting with tough defense, including multiple perimeter steals, expanding the margin to as many as 23. The Bobcats finished the half leading, 57-37. The Bobcats had just three first half turnovers while forcing eight IUNW miscues. The Bobcats shot 19 of 35 (54%) for the half including 9 of 17 (53%) from downtown.
The second half began with a bevy of buckets by Ethan Davidson. Davidson drew multiple fouls and converted free-throws to put added pressure on the Redhawk frontcourt. Midway through the second half, Chris Dixon-Williams helped lead a Redhawk charge, scoring on 4 of 5 possessions to trim the Bobcat lead to just 10.
C of O immediately responded by stopping the Redhawks on three straight possessions and spreading the ball around. Coach Steve Shepherd commented on the Bobcat resiliency with the lead, “I’m proud of our guys. It’s not easy to play with that big of a lead, and we answered every run they made."
A pair of steals by Brandt Cochran and Treydon Rackley helped the Cats extend the lead back up to 20 with just under two minutes remaining. In a true team effort, the Bobcats finished the game off with 20 assists and four players scoring in double digits.
Ethan Davison led all scorers and rebounders with 33 and nine respectively. Storm Price added nine rebounds of his own to go along with nine points. Brandt Cochran netted 28 points, including 4 of 6 from downtown. Heath Carmichael added 15 points and Treydon Rackley scored 12.
The Bobcats will play in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament Championship tomorrow at 7:30 PM. With today’s win, the Bobcats also secured an automatic bid to the NAIA DII National Championship.