Friday: Bobcats hit clutch free throws late to win

College of the Ozarks men’s basketball used some clutch free throws late to stave-off a Lincoln Christian University (Ill.) comeback on day one of the MLK Classic. The Bobcats defeated the host school, 79-76, and improved their record to 10-8 on the season.

Early in the first half, C of O jumped out on top using an inside-out game anchored by Ayden Stone. Stone scored a team high 20 points in the game on 10 for 15 shooting. Stone also co-led the team in rebounds with seven.

The inside presence opened-up driving opportunities for perimeter players. Treydon Rackley took full advantage, slicing through the defense on his way to 16 points while grabbing 5 boards along the way.

As a team, the Bobcats shot 18 for 38 (47.4%) from the field in the first half, while holding the Red Lions to 11 for 28 (39.3%). At the break, C of O led 39-28.

In the second half, LCU caught fire from deep, connecting on 7 for 16 (43.8%) from downtown. The surge helped the Red Lions take the lead late, however, the Bobcats kept their cool.

Head Coach Steve Shepherd noted, “This was a great team win. I am proud of the way we kept our composure when they took the lead. We stepped it up defensively, got some big baskets and converted all our free throws late in the game.”

The Bobcats ended the game with a torrid shooting pace. C of O shot 13 for 22 (59.1%) including 3 for 5 (60%) from distance in the second half. However, as mentioned it was the 11 for 12 from the charity stripe that made the difference late.

Trent McBride and Trey Gibson were both perfect from the free throw line, helping them chip-in eight and four points respectively. Klay Barton had another solid game scoring 10 points, snatching five boards, and hitting three of his four free throws.

Senior Brandt Cochran nailed all four of his free throws late to ice the game. In all, Cochran shot 5 for 12 from the field for a total of 15 points. Cochran also added a team high four assists. 

For the game, LCU shot 31 for 64 (48.4%) from the field and C of O countered with 31 for 60 (51.7%). Each team battled on the boards with LCU getting the slight edge 34-33. In the end, it was a Bobcat victory, 79-76. 

Saturday: Bobcats Overwhelm Lakers in Day 2 Win at MLK Classic

College of the Ozarks men’s basketball defeated Holy Family College on Saturday, 93-63. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 11-8 on the season.

The Bobcats shot the ball extremely well, especially from three-point range, all game long. In the first half, C of O shot 20 for 37 (54.1%) from the field including 10 for 17 (58.8%) from downtown.

Freshman Andrew Mitchell got going early from distance, eventually nailing 6 for 8 from three-point range for a total of 18 points. Treydon Rackley knocked down a trio of three-pointers on his way to 19 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds.

At the end of the first half, C of O led the Holy Family Lakers by a score of 50-29.

To open the second half, the Bobcats’ leading scorer sophomore Klay Barton drove hard to the hoop for a nifty finish. Barton led the game with a game-high 22 points on 8 for 14 shooting including 2 for 3 from distance. Barton also contributed five rebounds and three assists.

Freshman Ayden Stone once again played solid in the post. Stone notched a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Stone benefited from multiple dimes from senior Brandt Cochran. Cochran led all with seven assists to go along with eight points and five rebounds.

For the second half, C of O shot 15 for 34 (44.1%) from the field including 5 for 11 (45.5%) from three-point land. For the game, the Bobcats shot 35 for 71 (49.3%) with 15 makes (53.6%) from outside. 

Defensively, the Bobcats were solid all day holding the Lakers to just 14 for 66 (36.4%) from the field. C of O won the battle of the boards 44-34 and forced 13 Laker turnovers.

Lady Cats

Friday: Oliver reaches 

milestone in big win

College of the Ozarks men’s and women’s basketball traveled to Lincoln Christian University (Ill.) this weekend to compete in the MLK Classic. For the opening round on Friday, both the men and women picked up wins against the host school, Lincoln Christian. The Lady Cats improved their record to 15-3 with a huge 108-33 win.

Junior Abby Oliver entered the game just five points shy of her 1,000th career point. Oliver wasted no time, passing the milestone easily in the first half.

Head Coach Becky Mullis praised Oliver commenting, “I am very proud of Abby for reaching the 1000-point milestone for her career. She joins a distinguished group of 1000 point scorers in our tradition rich program. She has worked hard to become the player she is and I’m happy for her to achieve such an accomplishment.” 

As a team, the Lady Cats opened the game clicking on all cylinders. C of O shot 23 for 37 (62.2%) from the field for the first half and racked up 13 assists. Defensively, the Lady Cats forced 12 Lincoln Christian first-half turnovers and doubled up the Red Lions on the boards, 26-13. C of O smothered LCU, holding them to 5 for 29 (17.2%) from the field in the first half. At the break, C of O led 54-13.

The second half was more of the same. C of O continued to torch the nets from all over, including nine three-point makes in the second half alone. The Lady Cats moved the ball with laser-like precision, resulting in extremely efficient play by everyone involved. In fact, every player scored multiple baskets.

“I am proud of the focus and execution we displayed this evening. It was also an opportunity for every player to play a significant number of minutes. We had great teamwork, with 24 assists and seven players in double-figures,” Coach Mullis concluded.

The double-figure scorers included: Harper Little (14), Ashley Forrest (12), Kayley Frank (12), Abby Oliver (11), Aleksei Smith (11), Michelle Gabani (11), and Grace Steiger (11). 

In the second half, C of O shot 21 for 34 (61.8%) and held LCU to 5 for 17 (21.7%) from the field. C of O outscored the Red Lions 54-20 in the second frame to finish the 108-33 win.

For the game, the Lady Cats outrebounded the Red Lions 42-23, caused 23 turnovers, and shot 44 for 71 (62%) from the field. 

Saturday: Lady Cats 

Dominant on Day 2 of 

MLK Classic

The College of the Ozarks Lady Bobcats picked up their second win in as many days at the MLK Classic hosted by Lincoln Christian University (Ill.). On Saturday, C of O defeated Holy Family College (Wis.) by a score of 88-32.

Much like the first day, C of O began the game on fire and never let up. The Lady Cats opened the first half shooting a blistering 20 for 34 (58.8%) from the field while holding the Lakers of Holy Family College to just 6 for 19 (31.6%) with overpowering defense. The Lady Cats caused 16 first half Laker turnovers.

“We had another balanced attack with all players seeing a lot of action. We executed well on both the offensive and defensive ends. I’m proud of us for coming out focused and taking care of business,” Head Coach Becky Mullis said.

To Mullis’ point, all eleven Lady Bobcats played seven or minutes in the first half. Every Lady Cat but one scored, with Ashely Forrest being the only exception. Forrest was too busy distributing to score in the first half, leading all with five assists. Going into halftime, C of O led Holy Family, 45-13.

C of O slightly cooled off from the field in the second half, shooting a smoldering 18 for 37 (48.6%). However, the team did a number on the Lakers on the boards, winning the rebounding battle 43-24 for the game. The Lady Bobcats continued to apply consistent pressure in their half court defense, forcing 27 Lady Laker turnovers while holding Holy Family to just 13 for 46 (28.3%) from field goal range for the game.

Aleksei Smith led the Lady Cats in scoring with 12 points and added three rebounds and three assists. Fellow Senior Ashley Forrest scored five points, dished out six assists, and swiped two steals. Annie Noah and Grace Steiger anchored the middle with 11 points each. Noah led the team with seven rebounds while Steiger grabbed six. Every Lady Bobcat scored at least two buckets in the game.

In the end, C of O defeated Holy Family by a score of 88-32 and improved their record to 16-3 on the season.

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