You know when you attend a Central Christian College men’s basketball game, 6-7 forward Alonzo Stafford is going to do something to make your jaw drop.
There were plenty of Stafford jawbreakers in the first round of the Classic for Christ Tournament on Friday at Alexander Arena.
Stafford threw down six dunks and went to to finish with a double-double as the Tigers came away with a 71-59 victory over a Grace University team that recently defeated Kansas Wesleyan, the only team to defeat CCC this year.
Stafford was 10 of 13 from the field on his way 22 points and also windexed the glass for 11 rebounds.
“He’s a special player,” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “I’m glad he plays for us.”
For 33 minutes, the Tiger team was pretty special itself. After being up 40-28 at the half, Central gave up only eight points in the first 13 minutes of the second half to mushroom the lead to 25, 61-36.
But focus, something Romero says the Tigers have to get better at, went fuzzy the rest of the way as Grace pulled as close as 10 before CCC made just enough free throws to avoid a nervous finish.
“They’re a good team, they’re solid,” Romero said of the Royals. “We got a little comfortable. They weren’t beating us on first shots, it was all second shots. We were missing 1-and-1s (three in a row) and that’s frustrating. That’s six straight points we could have had right there. But we’re showing signs of being a special defensive team, we’ve just got to stay focused for longer stretches.”
Michael Gholston fired the Tigers to their dozen-point halftime lead with 13 points, but was 0 of 6 in the second half and didn’t add to his total. Daniel Nwosuh furnished 11 points.
Jarrod Sheffield led Grace with 18 points and Hakeem Stewart added 13.
The Tigers now host Oklahoma Wesleyan at 6 p.m. Saturday. The teams have a storied history as both were in the MCAC until it broke up after last season. The Eagles wound up landing a gig in the KCAC while the Tigers are an independent.
The Eagles were stunned 79-73 on Friday by Manhattan Christian in the first game of the day. Grace’s women won the second game over Barclay College, 81-39. Grace plays the Central women in the 6 p.m. game Saturday.
Central (71) — Gholston 13, Stafford 22, Warren 2, Nwosuh 11, Clayborn 8, Jackson 1, Burton 8, Guillroy 6.
Grace (59) — Stewart 13, Sheffield 18, Santiel 2, Heck 5, Anderson 2, Markus 4, Maho 6, Hanes 2, Shappell 1, Toang 6.