After trailing early, College of the Ozarks men’s basketball battled back to defeat University of Virgin Islands, 66-59. With the win, C of O improved to 17-11 on the season.
The University of Virgin Islands boasts a starting lineup of three players above six-foot-five, including star player Keith Gilmore. Gilmore and teammate Josh Goss helped the Buccaneers get off to a hot start, taking turns scoring on three straight possessions, to earn an early nine-point advantage. Then, the Bobcats would turn to senior Brandt Cochran.
Like so many times before, Cochran would spark a Bobcat run. On this evening, Senior Night, Cochran would begin by playing the role of distributor. Brandt would throw a nifty pass to Klay Barton cutting off a back screen for a layup. On the defensive end, Cochran was tasked with guarding Gilmore, and stripped him of the ball to start a breakaway, which eventually led to another Barton power shot. Suddenly, the lead was reduced to four, forcing a UVI timeout.
After a three-point miss, a big rebound and put-back by Ayden Stone would help the Bobcats keep pace. At the end of the half, C of O would have the last possession. Near the top of the key, Cochran waited as the clock winded down. Defended by Gilmore, a between the legs dribble started Cochran downhill driving hard to the basket, finishing with the left hand to end the half. At the break, the Bobcats trailed, 32-28.
For the half, College of the Ozarks shot 11 for 26 (42.3%). University of Virgin Islands countered shooting 14 for 32 (43.8%).
To start the second half, the Bobcats wasted no time taking the lead. After a steal, Klay Barton found Treydon Rackley streaking up the sideline for a layup. A few possessions later, capping an 8-0 run, Barton would pro-hop into the paint and drop-off an assist to Ayden Stone to give the Bobcats a 36-34 lead.
Not long after, Keith Gilmore would score on back-to-back baskets to help the Buccaneers regain the lead. The back-and-forth battle would swing back to the Bobcats favor following a Rackley three-pointer at the midway point. Soon after, Brandt Cochran would draw his third foul. Following a timeout, UVI went right after him by posting up Gilmore. The savvy senior Cochran would draw a big charge, fueling a 9-2 Bobcat run, and the Bobcats would never look back, winning 66-59.
For the game, C of O would shoot 21 for 48 (43.8%) from the field including 7 for 25 (28%) from downtown. Solid Bobcat defense, particularly in the second half, would reduce to the Buccaneer shooting to just 25 for 65 (38.5%) for the game. Despite UVI being much taller, the Bobcats battled hard on the boards, grabbing 27 rebounds to the Buccaneers 34. Each team turned the ball over 14 times.
Individually, Treydon Rackley led the way with 18 points. Brandt Cochran scored 15 points, dished out 8 assists, and snatched two steals. Klay Barton added 12 points. Ayden Stone scored five points and had a team high 10 rebounds.
For more stats, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/v5unxxl
College of the Ozarks will host Ecclesia College on Tuesday, February 18 at 7 PM.