Point Lookout, MO - With a good homecoming crowd filling Keeter Gym on Saturday, the College of the Ozarks Bobcats were set to host Hannibal-LaGrange University as part of the weekend festivities. The Trojans prevailed in both contests in 2022-23 and the Bobcats were looking to bounce back with a Homecoming win.
A quick three by the Trojans opened the scoring and both teams were off to the races. The teams traded baskets in the early going with Brady Reynolds, Jay Baxter, and Kyle Flavin carrying the scoring load. A Brady Reynolds jam at the 15:33 mark knotted the score at 8-8 but HLGU quickly answered. A Kyle Flavin three gave the Bobcats their first lead, 11-10, with 14:37 remaining in the half. The Trojans responded and the teams continued to trade baskets. Defense was the dominant theme in the first half as neither team could put together a run. A Walker Patton layup and a pair of Garrett Snyder free throws gave the Bobcats a 17-15 lead at the midway point of the half, but a 5-0 Trojan run sent the momentum back to the visitors. Neither team would score again until a Trojan three landed at the 8:46 mark and the Bobcat drought continued. The Bobcat defense picked up the slack and kept the game close, but the Trojans slowly began to pull away. The Bobcats would not score again until Garrett Snyder drained a pair of free throws with 3:45 left in the half. The Bobcats were fortunate to only be down nine, 27-19, but they now had a hole to dig out of. The Bobcat defense turned up the pressure and a pair of Seth Soden free throws inched the Bobcats closer. With the Bobcat defense in lockdown mode, the Trojans would not score the rest of the half and baskets by Brady Reynolds and Tanner Rogers sent the game to intermission with the Trojan lead cut to 27-25.
The Trojans had been held scoreless the final 4:41 of the opening half and the Bobcats continued the trend through the first 2:11 of the second half. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were held scoreless as well and the Trojans were the first to break the silence. The Bobcats answered with baskets by Jay Baxter and Kyle Flavin and with 16:03 left to play, the Bobcats had erased the earlier deficit. Both defenses turned up the pressure and another dry spell would ensue. Tied at 29, Jay Baxter gave the Bobcats their first lead of the second half with 14:41 remaining. The Trojans answered and the score would remain tied again until a pair of Kyle Flavin free throws broke the deadlock for a 33-31 Bobcat lead. The Trojans were held scoreless until the 11:39 mark but the Bobcats were unable to capitalize and pull away. Points were hard to come by for both teams, but HLGU was able to regain the lead and maintain a slight advantage. Baskets by Walker Patton and Jay Baxter kept the Bobcats close but a basket and a three by the Trojans extended the gap to 44-37 with 7:21 left to play. The Bobcats needed to respond, and Jay Baxter was the first to answer the call. A Baxter two was followed by a Garrett Snyder three and a pair of free throws to cut the gap to 46-44 with 5:49 remaining. Another Snyder three moments later, regained the lead for the Bobcats, 47-46. The Trojans tied it with a free throw before Caleb Faulkner drilled a deep three to put the Bobcats back ahead. A Kyle Flavin free throw was offset by a pair of HLGU baskets, and the score was tied with 1:17 showing on the clock. Neither team could find the basket down the stretch and the game was tied 51-51 at the end of regulation.
The defense for both teams continued to do the job as the scoreboard remained unchanged until a Kyle Flavin basket with 3:59 to play. A Jay Baxter basket put the Bobcats up 55-51 with 2:57 remaining, and it was all Kyle Flavin from there. The Trojans remained close, but Kyle Flavin and the Bobcats held off every challenge. Flavin was sent to the free throw eight times in the final minute of the overtime, and the strategy was far from effective. Flavin went 7-8 from the charity stripe in the final minute and scored 14 of the Bobcats 16 points to secure the 67-64 overtime win.
Flavin finished with a game high, 24 points. Jay Baxter finished with 14, and Garrett Snyder logged double figures with 12.
The Bobcats return to action Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Haskell Indian Nations University Classic, in Lawrence, KS.