Second-Half Struggles Doom Cloud County Men in 83-70 Loss to #22 Colby

Second-Half Struggles Doom Cloud County Men in 83-70 Loss to #22 Colby
Second-Half Struggles Doom Cloud County Men in 83-70 Loss to #22 Colby

Playing their only game of the week and hitting the floor for the first time in seven days, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team would not be able to keep up with number-22 Colby Community College in the second half to fall by a final score of 83-70 inside the Colby Events Center in Colby, Kansas on Saturday, January 15th.

The loss sends the T-Birds to a 7-10 overall record and 3-8 mark in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while Colby improved to 11-4 overall and 6-3 in conference action while picking up their eighth home win in nine games this season.

Trailing 4-0 after a minute of play, Cloud County would get on the board at the 18:18 mark of the first half as freshman Joe Kearney would knock down a triple to pull the T-Birds back within one. The deficit for CCCC would grow to as many as six in the opening three minutes as the Trojans would score the next four points to go up 9-3 before giving up a 7-2 run to the T-Birds who would get back within a point at 11-10 after five minutes of action.

Adding to the run would be sophomore Nate Duckworth with a three of his own to give Cloud County their first lead of the contest at 13-11 as Colby would call a timeout to try and regroup after the run from CCCC. Out of the timeout, the T-Birds would get a defensive stop before seeing Duckworth hit a jumper to go up 15-11 as the Trojans would call yet another timeout. The lead for Cloud County would hold until the 12:02 mark of the half as Colby would score six of the next eight points to knot things at 17-17 before scoring four straight and six of the next eight to go back up by a score of 23-19.

Malang Athian three-point play would extend the lead for the T-Birds before reaching its largest of the game on a Savian Edwards triple that would make it 29-21 CCCC with just over seven minutes left in the first half. Scoring would then become a problem for Cloud County as Colby would use a 10-2 run to tie the game at 31-31 before scoring four of the final six points of the half to go up 35-33 at the break.

Both teams would come out of the locker room hot to combine to knock down three of the first four shot attempts in the second half before Colby would go on a 6-0 spurt to take a 46-37 lead with 16:10 left in the game. A pair of Athian free throws would end a two-minute scoring drought for Cloud County before seeing a 10-2 Trojan run extend the lead to 56-41.

In danger of letting the game get away from them, the T-Birds would need to start finding their offense again and would do so by scoring nine of the next 12 with Edwards capping off the run to pull CCCC within single-digits at 59-50 with 10:25 remaining. Free throws would be a boon for the Trojans however as an aggressive style of play would lead to numerous opportunities at the line where Colby would take advantage at the charity stripe.

After closing to within eight at 61-53, Cloud County would see Colby use an 8-2 run to push their lead back out to 69-55. The T-Birds would refuse to go away, however, cutting the lead back down to 12 at 71-59 with 5:44 remaining before seeing another run put things out of reach as the lead would grow to as many as 18 with 2:21 remaining to allow Colby to pull away.

Finishing above their season average from the field, Cloud County would 28-of-62 (45.2 percent) from the floor and hit on 31.8 percent (seven-of-22) three-point attempts. Being limited to just nine free throws, however, would be to the detriment of the T-Birds as Colby would be sent to the line 20 times and go 16-for-20 (80.0 percent) from the charity stripe including an 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) performance in the second half. Saturday would also mark the first time this season that CCCC has allowed an opponent to shoot above 50 percent from the field in the game as Colby would finish with a 51.7 percent (30-of-58) shooting performance and 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) second-half outing. 

A team-high 15 points from Duckworth would be paired with a 14-point performance from Kearney and a 10-point performance from Edwards to give CCCC three players in double-figures. Duckworth would add a team-best seven rebounds and three assists as Zion Obanla would be the only other T-Bird to finish with more than three rebounds (six). Three players for Colby would account for 60 of their 83 points as Cortez Mosley would score a game-high 25 points. The Trojans would also get 20 points from Allen Mukeba and 15 from JJ White.

What's Next?
Cloud County will return home on a 48-hour turnaround to play host to Northwest Kansas Technical College at 8 PM on Monday, January 17th. The Mavericks played host to Coffeyville Community College on Saturday night and defeated the T-Birds in their previous meeting this season back on November 17th by a score of 74-53.