College of the Ozarks Bobcat basketball picked up a big, late-night win on Friday to defeat Fisher College (Mass.) by a score of 90-76. The win propelled the Bobcats into the semi-finals of the A.I.I. Conference Championship tournament hosted by Lincoln College (Ill.).
Bobcat senior Brandt Cochran lit the fire for the Bobcats, as he opened up the game with three quick baskets from beyond the arc, along with a Klay Barton bucket and a couple Ayden Stone rebounds, to give the Cats an 11-4 advantage. While the Falcons steadily scored in the paint, Cochran and the Bobcats stayed hot from the outside through the first 10 minutes of the half. Fisher continued to chip away at the lead, and a couple Bobcat turnovers aided the Falcons in closing the gap and subsequently taking the lead, 34-32, with 3:57 remaining in the half. The Bobcats rallied to tie the score at 36 with 1:40 to play and proceeded to extend their lead on yet another three-pointer by Cochran, combined with two free throws and a buzzer-beater three by Treydon Rackley. The late barrage sent the Bobcats to the locker room with a 44-36 advantage.
The first half saw Cochran score 22 points on 8-13 shooting, which featured six treys. Freshman Ayden Stone hauled in 10 rebounds and added 5 points; Rackley tallied 8 points. C of O shot 53.3% from the field and 50% from beyond the three-point arc.
Returning to the court following the break, the Bobcats opened the second half with an 11-0 run, highlighted by three-pointers from Cochran, Andrew Mitchell, and Klay Barton, as well as a basket by Rackley. The Cats increased their lead to as many as 20 points at 60-40 before Fisher made some alterations and began to again chip away at the Bobcat lead. Despite their efforts, the Falcons could not erase the deficit. Ayden Stone continued to be relentless on the boards, depleting any second chances the Falcons might have hoped to acquire.
For the game, Cochran finished with an impressive 34 points to lead all scorers, going 10-21 from the field and 8-13 from three-point land, He added three rebounds, three assists, and drained a perfect 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. Stone posted a quality double double performance, tallying a game- and career-high 21 assists alongside 16 points (6-10). Mitchell and Rackley also scored in double figures for the night with 15 and 13 respectively. The Bobcats shot 53.4% (31-58) from the field and 46.4% in three-pointers (13-28), going 15-19 at the free-throw line.
The win improves the Bobcats’ record to 19-11. The Bobcats are scheduled to play around 8 pm on Saturday against Lincoln Christian University at Lincoln College.
Pictures of Cochran and Stone from a previous game provided by Steve Rackley.