The Central Christian College Tigers didn't see this coming.
Forty-eight hours after knocking off 2015 NAIA National Basketball Tournament team Friends, the Tigers were matched against another KCAC team, Kansas Wesleyan, which has spent the past four years either in or near the conference basement, having won only 22 games while losing 93.
But maybe it's a new dawning as the Coyotes stunned the Tigers 83-78 before a boisterous Alexander Arena crowd that was somewhat shocked by the outcome.
The Coyotes, who lost their opener to well-respected Baker by just one point earlier this week, pounded the offensive glass for 16 rebounds, which resulted in 17 second-chance points.
"That (the offensive rebounds) is the first thing that jumped off the (stat) page at me," a disappointed CCC coach Tony Romero said. "Every little loose ball, they got. We didn't get one. We got on the ball one time, we got a tie-up and that's about it. That was the difference in the game, for sure."
The Tigers led 40-34 at the half despite some terrific 3-point shooting by Wesleyan as all but three of its field goals came from beyond the arc. Central stretched it out to 60-51 with 13 minutes left, but then got stuck and it was about at that point KW's Dominique Johnson took over.
He played more like Dominique Wilkins, scoring 24 of his game-high 33 points in the second half, several baskets coming on hustle plays. It didn't hurt that KW finished the game 13 of 29 from 3-point, while making 13 of 26 from 2.
The Tigers were hampered early as star forward Alonzo Stafford picked up his second foul just 1:20 into the game and sat the final 18:40.
Michael Gholston was again sensational for the Tigers with 28 points, knocking down 7 of 9 from 3-point and 10 of 13 from the field for the game. Sam Clayborn scored 14, Stafford finished with 11 and Daniel Nwosuh added 10. Central's bench gave it little, scoring just six points and the Tigers, despite being the superior athletic team, were outrebounded, 39-34.
The Tigers are on the road Saturday for an exhibition game at Oklahoma Christian that doesn't count on their record as it's an NCAA Division II school.
Central (78) — Gholston 28, Stafford 11, Clayborn 14, Nwosuh 10, Warren 9, Burton 3, Robbins 3.
KW (83) — Lunz 4, Smith 4, Hill 13, Hildago 5, Johnson 33, Edwards 5, Moss 4, Criswell 5, Mitchell 6, Neri 4.
• KW WOMEN 82, CENTRAL 49 — The Lady Tigers never knew what hit them.
The Coyotes, who are receiving votes in the NAIA national poll and own an upset of No. 8-ranked College of the Ozarks, overwhelmed Central with a 31-12 first quarter and led 55-23 at the half.
Heather Crittenden did everything she could to make it respectable for Central by scoring 25 points while the remainder of the team could manage only 24. Crittenden also pulled down seven rebounds as she has been far and way CCC’s best player through two games.
Jenna Farris led KW with 20 points. Rebounding was a key as KW had a whopping 49-30 advantage.
Central continued to play short-handed as it has some players competing for the women’s soccer team and only nine players participated.
The 0-2 Lady Tigers head across town on Wednesday to take on McPherson College.
CCC (49) — Laskowski 2, Crittenden 25, Brooks 1, Banks 7, Lopez 2, Garza 6, Campa 4, Austin 2.
KW (82) — Steinle 6, Farris 20, New 3, Lichtenauer 11, Alexander 11, Wilson 5, Heim 3, Barlow 10, Grant 4, Dennis 2, Lyon 3, Pattson 4.