College of the Ozarks men’s basketball opened the season on homecoming weekend against #13 Southwestern College (Kan.) on Saturday.
The early season story line for the Bobcats will be their ability to incorporate a large influx of new players to go along with three returning starters. The team’s need for rust shaking and jitter removal was evident, as Southwestern jumped out to a 20-0 lead, while the Bobcats missed their first 14 field goal attempts.
At the 12-minute mark, C of O used their defense to create some offense. A series of stops, including a pair of steals by freshman Riley Oberbeck, helped the Bobcats trim the lead to 25-12. Andrew Mitchell and Treydon Rackley found a groove offensively to keep the Bobcats afloat, including a sweet give-and-go, which resulted in Rackley finishing at the hoop. Southwestern used a late three-pointer and a pair of free throws to push their halftime lead to 53-35. For the half, the Bobcats shot just 36% percent from the field and were 3 for 13 (23%) from behind the arc.
While the Bobcats continued to struggle from the field in the second half, hard work on the boards paid dividends and chipped away at the lead. Ayden Stone led all rebounders with 11, including 6 offensive boards. Teammate Trent McBride snatched nine rebounds, including a few quick put-backs, to jumpstart the offense.
Late in the half, Stone would faceup and drive through contact to finish at the rim to pull the Bobcats within eight points, 85-77. A subsequent pair of Rackley free throws would cut the lead to only six, but Southwestern would use ball control and free throws to finish the game, 93-84.
Six Bobcats finished with double-digit scoring including Riley Oberbeck and Brandt Cochran with 10 each, Trent McBride with 11, Ayden Stone with 12, Andrew Mitchell chipping in 14, and Treydon Rackley’s team high 18.
For more complete stats, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/y2ndcp28
College of the Ozarks returns to action Monday, November 4th against Oklahoma Wesleyan University at home.