The College of the Ozarks Bobcats had a rough night on their home court on Tuesday, falling to Evangel University, 78-66.
After defeating the Crusaders by 20 in their last meeting, the Cats were looking to break their 3-game losing streak and pick up a big win. They also hoped to retain the Rib Crib Highway 65 traveling trophy, awarded on each season’s outcome. However, 61.5% shooting in the first half by Evangel, compared to 40.7% by C of O, left the Bobcats trailing 41-28 at the half.
The Bobcats returned in the second half and continued to struggle – never seeming to get in sync. College of the Ozarks trailed by as many as 17 points before catching a few breaks and eventually pulling within 6 points with 4:25 remaining in the game. The crowd was into the game and things looked hopeful; however, the Cats could not find a way to draw any closer, and the Crusaders rebounded and closed out the game with a 12-point win.
The Crusaders were led by Cody Geiger with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Nick Yocum and Marcus Miller added 15 and 12 points respectively, while Josue Levy grabbed 7 rebounds and Autry Acord snagged 5 steals. The Crusaders shot 48.1% on the night and hit 88% of their 25 free-throws.
Cameron Paschke led the Bobcats in scoring with 26 points, and Ethan Davidson added 15 points as well as 8 rebounds. The Cats shot 38.3% from the floor, making 11 of their 17 free throws.
Tonight’s loss drops the Bobcats below the .500 mark at 5-6 headed into a long Christmas break. Evangel picks up their second win of the season against 7 losses. The Cats did manage to retain the Rib Crib trophy due to point differential. Linda Underwood of the Rib Crib-Branson presented the trophy to CofO head coach Steve Shepherd following the game.
The Bobcats will return to their home court on December 30th against Southwestern College and will follow up by hosting the McDonald’s CAM JAM Classic on January 2-3.