College of the Ozarks Bobcats picked up their twelfth win of the season on Tuesday evening in Point Lookout, as they defeated conference foe Crowley’s Ridge College (Ark.), 82-78.
The two teams obviously came to play, as they racked up 39 points in the first eight minutes of play, with C of O holding a 20-19 edge, aided by 12 quick points from senior guard Brandt Cochran. The two teams continued to trade the lead until Bobcat freshman Andrew Mitchell hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Bobcats a 36-30 advantage. The Pioneers would respond with a basket to pull within four points, but C of O came charging back on a triple from Cochran, a free throw by freshman Matt Luebbert, and a basket by freshman Trent McBride to take a 10-point lead with 3:42 remaining in the half. The Pioneers took a quick timeout and proved their mettle, scoring 11 quick points, which included a couple shots from downtown. Junior Treydon Rackley swished two free throws to give the Bobcats the one-point advantage at the close of the half, 44-43.
For the half, Crowley’s Ridge went 17-30 (56.7%) from the field and 7-10 (70%) from beyond the 3-point arc, pulling down 14 rebounds. The Bobcats shot 15-32 (46.9%) from the field and hit 8-19 (42.1%) from three-point land, hauling in 17 rebounds. The Cats were 6-7 in free throws, while the Pioneers went 2-3. Both teams turned the ball over five times.
The teams cooled off slightly over the break but basically matched baskets for the first five minutes until Pioneer Randy Stanley drained a three-pointer to give Crowley’s Ridge a one-point lead at 53-52. Sophomore Klay Barton responded with a basket, Luebbert dropped in a pair, and McBride surprised the Pioneers with a quick basket on an inbounds pass to give the Cats a 66-55 lead at mid-point in the second half. The Pioneers proceeded to slowly chip away at the C of O lead to draw within two points (76-74) with just over two minutes remaining. The two teams battled to the end, with Crowley’s Ridge trailing by only two points at the 12-second mark, but Rackley once again drained two free throws in the Bobcats’ last possession and helped his team secure a four-point victory, 82-78.
In the second half, Crowley’s Ridge shot 42.9% (15-35) and went 1-6 from beyond the arc. C of O shot 43.2% (16-37) and tallied no three-point shots. The Pioneers committed nine turnovers compared to five by the Bobcats.
Stat leaders for C of O featured Cochran with 21 points, gong 6-12 from the field, including 4 of 8 three pointers and 5-6 from the charity stripe. Cochran also led the team in assists (6) and steals (3). Four other Bobcats joined Cochran in double figures: McBride (14), Ayden Stone (12), Rackley and Luebbert (10 apiece). McBride led the Bobcats in rebounds, hauling down 8, while Stone collected 7. Stone and Rackley each blocked one shot.
Tuesday’s win takes the Bobcats’ record to 12-8 on the season. The Bobcats and Lady Cats will travel to Lincoln, Ill. this weekend to face two more conference opponents in Washington Adventist (Md.) and Lincoln College (Ill.). The two teams will return home to play Haskell Indian Nations University on February 1st, with games at 3 and 5 p.m.