The College of the Ozarks Bobcats brought the heat to Keeter Gymnasium Sunday afternoon where they used 54% shooting from the field to defeat the Crusaders of Dallas Christian College, 91-67. Pulling off a rare feat, the Bobcats produced a higher three-point field goal percentage than their overall mark, pouring in 18 of 31 treys (58.1%) on their way to the 24-point win.
C of O jumped out to an early lead and maintained control of the game from the opening tip. Matt Luebbert started things off with a basket and Josh Linehan followed with four points of his own. Andrew Mitchell hit his first of eight treys on the afternoon and the Bobcats were off to a 9-2 run to open the game. The Crusaders took a quick timeout, but the momentum was already rolling for the Bobcats. Another 10-2 run was capped with a Mitchell three and the lead was up to 19-4 with just under six minutes gone in the game. The Crusaders’ Jason Makayabo converted a traditional three-point play then connected on a deep three to jump start the DCC offense. Battling back to a 24-12 score, the Crusaders were looking to get back in the game. Tanner Rogers responded with a deep three and the Bobcats were able to stop the Crusader run. The Crusaders cut the gap to 10 on a Jairus Allen three with 9:41 remaining but the Bobcats were set to answer. Blaine Cline and Kyle Flavin hit back to back threes, Garrett Simmerman connected for four points, and Flavin drained another from long range before the Crusaders could score again. When the dust settled, the Bobcats had built a 42-19 lead. Joseph Allen broke the DCC drought but Linehan and Simmerman scored the next five points to complete an 18-2 Bobcat run. The Crusaders managed two more buckets before Andrew Mitchell splashed another deep three home to put the Bobcats up 50-25, with 2:47 remaining in the half. The Crusaders challenged to end the half but despite their efforts, the Bobcats took a 52-32 lead into the break.
The threes continued to rain down in the second half for the Bobcats. Tanner Rogers and Josh Linehan each connected from long range and Andrew Mitchell poured in three more for the first 15 Bobcat points of the half. DCC continued to battle but the Bobcats answered every challenge. With 13:42 remaining, the Bobcats held a 67-39 advantage. Mitchell connected on another three out of a timeout and the Crusaders were left scratching their heads. Even though they were down, the Crusaders were not letting up. The Bobcats needed to continue to play well to maintain the lead. A 10-2 Crusader run cut the Bobcat lead to 85-58 before the defense for both teams stepped up. Neither team could find the bottom of the net for the next 2:30. Tanner Rogers connected on free throw to break the silence with 3:06 left to play. The Crusaders were determined to fight to the final buzzer and turned up the defensive intensity. The Bobcats answered the defensive effort and points were at a premium as the clock wound down. A JaCorey Thompson bucket with :32 remaining would round out the Bobcat offense and secure the 91-67 win.
The Bobcats shot 18-31 from beyond the arc and 33-61 overall. Andrew Mitchell led all scorers with 24 points on 8-11 shooting from three-point land. Josh Linehan poured in 19 points, Tanner Rogers added 13 points (3-6 3pt. FG), Kyle Flavin added 12 (2-4 3pt. FG), and Blaine Cline tacked on 10. Garrett Simmerman chipped in six, Matt Luebbert contributed four, to go with nine rebounds, Tanner Diaz tacked on four, and JaCorey Thompson added two.
The Bobcats will hit the road this week as they head to Kansas Christian College on Tuesday. The Lady Cats will make the trip as well with their tip-off at 5:00. The Bobcats will follow with a 7:00 PM start.