Evangel came into Tuesday’s game aggressive and hungry for a win, but the Bobcats were able to turn things around with just minutes left to spare.
The problems began early on for C of O. Like their season opener, Bobcats head coach Steve Shepherd said his team wasn’t shooting well.
“We didn’t shoot it well,” Shepherd said. “We had too many turnovers.”
By the time halftime rolled around, the Bobcats had 11 turnovers and were down 11 points.
During the halftime break, Shepherd tried to lift his teams’ spirits.
“I encouraged our guys to be aggressive and not be intimidated and to believe in themselves and believe in each other,” Shepherd said. “I told Brandt ‘you’re a great player, I have a lot of confidence in you and so do your teammates.’”
Coming into the second half trailing 11 points is less than ideal, especially when senior Brandt Cochran — someone Shepherd is counting on through the season -- has yet to put up any points.
In the first nine minutes of the second half, the Bobcats only managed to put up 17 points, while the Crusaders added to their lead with 26 points.
With just 11 minutes left to spare, the Bobcats trailed by 18 points.
“We fell behind early in the game and never really recovered until late in the game with about 10 minutes to go,” Shepherd said. “We were 18 points behind, and we struggled.”
But, that 18 point lead was the largest lead the Crusaders would have for the rest of the game.
The Bobcats made some changes and were able to close in on the Crusaders’ lead. With just seven and a half minutes left, the Bobcats were able to bring the game to a tie for the third and final time.
Shepherd said his team maintained a toughness and resilience when they were down 18 points. But the hero of the half was Cochran.
“Brandt got going and finished strong,” Shepherd said. “He finished with 32, that’s a lot of points in one half.”
Cochran was 16 out of 18 from the free throw line and four for eight from three.
Despite the 32 points from Cochran in the second half, Shepherd credits his entire team for the 93-82 win and said it was a good team effort all the way around.
“I was really proud of our guys for hanging in there,” Shepherd said.