The College of the Ozark Bobcats hit the Road Thursday and Friday for the Dallas Christian College Classic in Dallas, Texas and came home with a split in their two games. Having won three of their last five games and two in a row, the Bobcats looked to keep the momentum alive and extend their win streak.
College of the Ozarks vs Dallas Christian College
The Bobcats opened the classic facing the host Crusaders of Dallas Christian College. Garrett Simmerman and Josh Linehan opened the Bobcat scoring for a 4-0 early lead. The Crusaders quickly responded with a Tilyr Hobson basket and a Jordan Harris three and the battle was on. Garrett Simmerman scored in the paint between another two-three combination for the Crusaders and the Bobcats trailed 10-6 with 15:33 remaining in the opening frame. The defense for both teams controlled the next two minutes until a Kyle Flavin three broke the ice for the Bobcats and pulled them within one. Blaine Cline and Josh Linehan put up back to back buckets and the Bobcats regained the lead, 13-12 with 11:46 showing on the clock. Another two minute offensive dry spell ensued with Tanner Diaz hitting two free throws to break the silence and cap off a 9-2 Bobcat run. The Crusaders finally broke through at the 9:06 mark to cut the Bobcat lead to one, 15-14, and regained the lead two possessions later on a Caleb Willis basket in the paint. The back and forth action continued as the teams traded baskets and the time ticked away. The score was knotted up at 31-31 as time expired and the teams headed to the locker room.
Kyle Flavin put the Bobcats on the board first in the second half and Tanner Rogers followed with a bucket on the next possession. Rogers and Flavin combined for nine of the Bobcat’s first ten points, but the Crusaders matched the duo’s output and the score was tied at 41 with 13:32 left to play. A pair of DCC free throws put the Cats down by two but Andrew Mitchell responded with a deep three and the Bobcats were back on top. Over the next three minutes the Bobcat defense went into lockdown mode and Mitchell, Linehan and Flavin teamed up to put together an 11-0 Bobcat run. Leading 60-49, the Bobcats continued to apply pressure and the Crusaders began to fold. Steals by Tanner Rogers and Blaine Cline translated into Bobcat points and the lead continued to grow. The Crusaders attempts to challenge came up short and the Bobcats scored the 73-56 opening game win.
The Bobcats scored three in double figures with Kyle Flavin setting the pace with 17 on 7-14 shooting and nine rebounds. Josh Linehan and Andrew Mitchell each poured in 15 points and Blaine Cline narrowly missed a double-double with his eight points and 10 rebounds. Tanner Rogers added seven points, Garrett Simmerman and Tanner Diaz each chipped in four, Matt Luebbert tacked on two, and Cooper Long contributed one.
College of the Ozarks vs Southwestern Adventist University
The Bobcats looked to make it four straight in the win column on day two of the Classic. They would have their hands full, however, as they faced a talented Southwestern Adventist Knights squad.
Kyle Flavin opened the Bobcat scoring but the Knights quickly answered. Garrett Simmerman jumped into the scoring column but a pair of threes by the Knights put the Bobcats down, 8-4. The defense for both teams stepped up and neither team could find the bottom of the net for the next 5:03 on the clock. Tanner Diaz drained a three to stop the drought and cut the gap to one with 11:13 left in the half. Two minutes later, the Knights answered with a three and the tug of war was on. Both teams began to heat up offensively but neither team could gain a sizeable advantage. With the Knights leading 23-20, an Andrew Mitchell three splashed home to tie the score at 23 with 2:50 remaining in the half. Ephraim Viadex put the Knights back on top with :53 left but Kyle Flavin answered, and the score was tied at 25 headed to the intermission.
After a low scoring opening frame, both teams came out determined to get their offense rolling in the second half. After trading early baskets, it was the Knights who found their groove. A 19-5 Knight run put the Bobcats in a deep hole, trailing 46-32 with just 10:27 left to play. The Bobcats continued to battle but seemed to only keep pace with the Knights. Each challenge was met with resistance and the Knights always responded. Trailing 57-41 with 6:28 left to play, Josh Linehan scored in the paint to spark a Bobcat rally. Another Linehan score combined with threes by Tanner Rogers and Cooper Long put the Bobcats within striking distance trailing by eight, 59-51. With 3:30 remaining, the Knights felt the pressure and knew they needed to regroup to hold off the Bobcat charge. After a layup by Sitivi Fehoko put the Knights back up by 10, the Bobcats needed to foul and hope the free throws didn’t fall. That was not the case as the Knights connected on 10-11 free throws down the stretch and the Bobcats could not cut the gap. As time ticked off the clock, a Kyle Flavin three would close out the scoring and the Bobcats fell 71-57.
Kyle Flavin led the offensive effort with 15 points while pulling down nine rebounds for the second consecutive game. Josh Linehan added 12 points with Garrett Simmerman chipping in eight and Andrew Mitchell – seven. Blaine Cline tacked on four points while Tanner Diaz, Tanner Rogers, and Cooper Long each contributed three. Matt Luebbert added two points to round out the Bobcat scoring.
The Bobcats continue their three game road tilt as they head to Lawrence, Kansas Wednesday, January 12, to take on Haskell Indian Nations University.