College of the Ozarks men’s basketball defeated Haskell Indian Nations University (Kan.) on Saturday evening, 90-63. With the win, C of O improved to 13-10 on the season.
The game started with in back-and-forth fashion, until Haskell put together a 14-1 run, fueled by four shots from distance. Midway through the half, C of O trailed 19-8 and was forced to call a timeout. After the breather, the Bobcats immediately went to work in the post with Trent McBride. McBride would score on three straight C of O possessions, igniting a Bobcat run that would force a Haskell timeout. McBride would finish the game with 12 points.
After the break, C of O would surprise Haskell with a full-court press, forcing two quick turnovers and buckets, including an Ayden Stone and-one, which gave the Bobcats the lead. Stone would finish the game with nine point and seven rebounds. Late in the half, C of O would use a pick-and-pop three-pointer from Andrew Mitchell to take a 34-31 lead into halftime.
For the half, Haskell turned the ball over seven times to just three Bobcat miscues. C of O shot 14 for 32 (43.8%) compared to Haskell’s 11 for 31 (35.5%).
To start the second half, College of the Ozarks would make a concerted effort to start the offense in the post. The strategy paid off, as Haskell big man Nakia Hendricks picked up a quick third foul, sending him to the bench. With the big man out, Haskell had to compensate by exaggerating their help defense in the middle. Bobcat Brandt Cochran took full advantage, alternating between three-pointers and mid-range jumpers, scoring on four straight C of O possessions, part of an 18-5 run. To stop the bleeding, Haskell reentered Hendricks. Hendricks quickly nailed a three-pointer and a long two point attempt to give Haskell some life.
Midway through the half, Klay Barton would get going following a steal and huge two-handed jam. Not too long after, Barton and Stone would use a give-and-go for a Barton finish at the hoop. For the game, Barton would record eight points, five rebounds, and five assists. Andrew Mitchell would join in with a three-pointer from the wing, one of his four makes from downtown, part of his 14 points.
After a Haskell timeout, Brandt Cochran would again take over. Cochran would nail a deep three-pointer, get a steal defensively, and hit a sweet fall-away jumper to spark another Bobcat run. Treydon Rackley would add a corner three, part of his 15 points on 6 for 8 shooting. Matt Luebbert would drive through contact on the next possession to finish at the hoop to give C of O a 67-52 lead with eight minutes to play.
Late in the game, C of O continued with a three-point barrage to put a large distance between the Bobcats and Haskell. The Bobcats would finish with 14 three-pointers in the game, shooting 10 for 15 in the second half alone. In the end, the hot shooting gave the Bobcats a 90-63 victory.
For the game, College of the Ozarks shot a blazing 35 for 66 (53%) from the field. The Bobcats also won the battle of the boards 40-32 and turned the ball over just eight times.
For more statistics, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/v2ev53o
College of the Ozarks returns to action on the road for a women’s and men’s double-header against Crowley’s Ridge (Ark.) on February 4, beginning at 5 PM.