The Bobcats made a late push to come back and steal an ugly game against Evangel on Tuesday evening, 93-82.
To start the game, the Bobcats successfully pounded the ball into the post to Freshman Ayden Stone, who connected on a pair of hook shots. Perhaps more importantly, Stone drew a quick foul on Evangel standout Pavel Antonov. The play started a rough night for Antonov, the 6’7 post from Bulgaria, who struggled to stay on the court all night due to fouls. In fact, both teams had issues with fouls, as there were 54 combined foul calls on the evening.
Back-and-forth scoring ended near the five-minute mark as the Bobcats began a streak of misses from the field, which ignited an Evangel 12-3 run. For the half, the Bobcats managed just 8 of 27 from the field (29.6%), including an 0-6 start for Senior Brandt Cochran. To make matters worse, C of O connected on just 6 of 12 free throws and turned the ball over 11 times. Thus, Evangel led at halftime, 36-25.
After the break, the Bobcats made two pivotal adjustments. First, they cleaned up their ball handling, only turning the ball over three times in the second half. Second, they focused on the boards, pulling down 25 second-half rebounds to Evangel’s 14.
For Brandt Cochran, like all great shooters, it was only a matter of time. Cochran used a pull-up jumper from the elbow to connect on the first shot of the second half to get going. While the Evangel lead would swell to as many as 18, a scoring tirade from Cochran proved critical for the Bobcat comeback, as he would go 6 of 10 from the field in the second half, including 4 of 6 from the three-point line. A deep three at the 10-minute mark trimmed the Evangel lead to single digits.
Freshman Trent McBride cleaned up a pair of Bobcat misses for put-backs to pull C of O within one point. On the subsequent possession, McBride drew a huge charge on the Crusaders’ Antonov, which was his fifth and final foul.
Cochran wisely exploited Evangel’s frustration by driving the lane on back-to-back possessions and drawing fouls, leading to bonus free throws and a C of O lead, 66-65. With four minutes left to play, Treydon Rackley followed suit, driving hard to the hoop and drawing the foul. Two made free throws later and C of O pushed their lead to eight.
Evangel called a timeout to regroup. However, Bobcat Head Coach Steve Shepherd used the timeout to set up a sweet give-and-go from McBride to Klay Barton. The Bobcat lead, now in double-digits, forced Evangel to begin intentionally fouling. This strategy would put Brandt Cochran on the line repeatedly. In all, Cochran would swish 16 of 18 free throws to solidify the Bobcats' victory, 93-82.
Cochran ended up leading all scorers with 32 points, all scored in the second half. McBride added 17 points and snatched 11 boards. Treydon Rackley chipped in nine points and four rebounds. Sophomore Klay Barton and freshman Ayden Stone each scored eight points.
For more complete statistics, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/y4ezuqeb
The Bobcats (2-1) return to action at the Tabor Classic on November 8th and 9th in Hillsboro, Kansas.