Point Lookout, MO - Looking to avenge an earlier 64-55 loss to William Woods University, the College of the Ozarks Bobcats returned to Keeter Gymnasium Monday to open the second half of the season.
Defense and cold shooting for both teams was the norm in the early going as neither team could find the bottom of the net. A pair of Josh Linehan free throws at the 17:33 mark broke through for the Bobcats and a Kyle Flavin three one minute later gave the Cats the early 5-0 lead. William Woods continued their offensive struggles until the 15:59 mark when Fred Robinson scored to make it 5-2 Bobcats. Terry Gupton added a bucket before things went cold again for the Bobcats. The Owls began to chip away, and a quick 6-0 run gave them their first lead of the game, with 13:29 left in the opening half. The teams would battle back and forth with most of the action happening on the defensive end. A Kyle Flavin jumper with 10.12 remaining, put the Bobcats back on top and a steal and dunk by Terry Gupton boosted the momentum, and the lead for the Bobcats. The Cats would hold a narrow advantage until the 7:28 mark when a Spencer Yoggerst three put the Owls back on top, 16-15. Another Owl three was answered by back-to-back baskets by Josh Linehan and Tanner Rogers and with 4:40 showing on the clock, the score was tied, 19-19. Both offenses came to life to close out the first half, but the Owls took the upper hand. Garrett Simmerman broke into the scoring column with three quick points and Kyle Flavin tacked on a pair of free throws and a three to send the game to the intermission with the Bobcats trailing, 31-27.
The Owls jumped on the board first in the second half, but Josh Linehan quickly responded for the Bobcats. Trading baskets through the first four minutes of the half, the Bobcats were unable to cut into the Owl lead. A Josh Linehan three was followed by back-to-back baskets for the Owls and Coach Shepherd took a time out to rally the troops. Trailing 42-34, the Bobcats needed to turn the tide in a hurry. The Owls scored out of the huddle and the Bobcats found themselves in a 10-point hole. An 8-3 Owl run over the next three minutes spelled trouble for the Bobcats. The Owls continued to apply pressure and the Bobcats were working to claw back into contention. Andre Mitchell connected from mid-range and Devin Carrol drained a deep three to cut the gap to 52-42, with 10:33 left to play. The Bobcats traded a pair of Mitchell threes for a couple of Owls two-point baskets and the gap was gut to 56-48. A Nathan Schwartze three, with 8:00 showing on the clock, squelched the Bobcat momentum and the difficulty of the task began to grow. The cold shooting continued for the Bobcats and the Owls slowly pulled away. Isaiah Mitchell scored from mid-range and Xavier Oduor connected on a free throw and the Owls led 77-56. A pair of Owl free throws was followed by two from the charity strip for Cainen Mar and the Bobcats to close out the scoring. The Owls held the ball as time expired and the game went to the Owls, 79-58.
Josh Linehan led the Bobcat offense with 14 points. Kyle Flavin added 13, Andrew Mitchell tacked on eight, and Terry Gupton contributed seven to the cause. Tanner Rogers added four points while Garrett Simmerman and Devin Carroll each chipped in three. Cainen Mar and Isaiah Mitchell scored two points each and Matt Luebbert and Xavier Oduor tacked on one each to round out the Bobcat scoring.
The Bobcats return to action next Monday, January 9, when they host Central Baptist College at 5 PM in Keeter Gymnasium.