Coming off a loss in their season opener, the College of the Ozarks Bobcats were looking to make a change Monday against the Oklahoma Wesleyan University Eagles.
They were able to do just that with a 85-76 win.
Unlike the season opener, the Bobcats got on the board fast. Just 30 seconds in, sophomore Klay Barton answered the Eagles’ first basket with his own to tie it up. Barton put up the first seven points for the Bobcats.
“Getting off to a good start was pretty important for our confidence,” head coach Steve Shepherd said. “Once we got it rolling, we kind of did it tonight.”
The game was a pretty even match from the start. The Bobcats tied it up three times through the first half before taking the lead for the last time with just under four minutes left to play.
Heading into the second half, the Bobcats were up 11 points and looking to maintain the lead. They needed to demonstrate strong defense on the court and prevent the Eagles from making some key shots that could put them back in the lead.
Shepherd said it isn’t always easy to head into a new half with the lead, but he’s proud of the way his team performed.
Throughout the second half, the Bobcats only allowed the Eagles 45 points while putting up 43 of their own. They never allowed their opponent to take back the lead.
The Bobcats battled their way to a 16-point lead, before the Eagles answered with some points of their own. Despite efforts on the behalf of the Eagles, the Bobcats were able to hold them and take a nine-point win in their second game of the season.
Junior Treydon Rackley is someone Shepherd said he’d be relying on throughout the season. That showed as Rackley played 36 minutes, the most time spent out on the court among teammates Monday night. He led the team in points scored, putting 21 points on the board and adding three assists.
Senior Brandt Cochran is another Shepherd is counting on this season. Cochran played six fewer minutes than Rackley on Monday, but still managed to put up 13 points and a team-high five assists.
Sophomore Klay Barton and freshman Ayden Stone each put up 12 points and three assists in Monday’s matchup.
Shepherd said it was nice to see Rackley emerge as the go-to guy.
“It’s nice to see other guys step up,” Shepherd said. “I think the key tonight was a total team effort with balanced scoring.”