College of the Ozarks men’s basketball hosted NAIA DI William Woods University (7-5) on Tuesday evening in Keeter Gymnasium on the College’s campus. The C of O Bobcats fell to the Owls, 70-59.
The first half found C of O shots struggling to find the bottom of the net, with the Cats’ first basket coming almost four minutes into the game. William Woods, on the other hand opened up with a basket and a three-pointer for a 5-0 advantage. As the game continued, the Bobcats started to warm up, shots began to fall, and they pulled to within three points, 13-16, on back-to-back scores by sophomore guard Klay Barton. A lineup change by the Owls resulted in a 14-0 run to provide a 13-30 advantage with just under nine minutes remaining in the half. The two teams traded baskets for a time before the Bobcats, spurred by an Andrew Mitchell three-pointer, went on a run of their own to pull within three points at the close of the half, 35-38. Barton led the first-half scoring for C of O with 9 points, followed closely by freshman Ayden Stone with 8. Stone led the rebounding, pulling down 6. The Bobcats shot 39.4% from the field (13 for 33), including four three-point makes. The Cats recorded only three turnovers.
In the second half, the Owls struck first to take a five-point edge before a defensive rebound and basket by Stone sparked a small run to tie the game at 40. The lead changed hands a few times in the process and the score remained tight until the 3:36 mark, when the Owls’ Treshawn Gause made two free throws to extend the WWU lead to five. After that mark, the Owls outscored the Bobcats 10-4, sinking 6 of 8 late-game free throws to collect a 70-59 victory.
College of the Ozarks stat leaders featured Barton with 16 points, Stone with a double-double (14 pts., 12 reb.), and Brandt Cochran (12 pts., 6 reb). The Bobcats shot 34.4% from the field, but an unusual 25% from the three-point line, hitting only four of 16 attempts from beyond the arc. William Woods was led by Andrew Nett with 17 points and Darius Yohe with 12 rebounds, 6 points, and 2 blocks. The Owls shot 41.3% from the field, 32% from three-point land.
The loss moves the Bobcats’ record to 5-5 on the season. The Cats will head north to Springfield, Mo. to take on long-time rival Evangel University on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m.