Ernest Burton’s job for the Central Christian College men’s basketball team is to provide instant offense off the bench.
Are 11 straight points in just over 2 minutes instant enough?
Burton’s flurry came in the first half when the Tigers ran away and hid from Manhattan Christian here Monday, 98-78.
Burton propelled the Tigers to a 31-9 lead with his outburst and they basically put it on cruise control the rest of the way to improve to 5-1 on the year.
“He’s dangerous,” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “It’s nice to have a guy like that coming off the bench. When Mike (Gholston) or Sam (Clayborn) go out, we know can plug him right in and not miss a beat.”
For playing their third game in four days, the Tigers came out with surprisingly good energy.
“That first 5 minutes the first (starting) five came out and really guarded,” Romero said. “We got out in transition were able to run a little bit.”
Central led 52-32 at the half, which was punctuated by a lob to Clayborn for a dunk at the buzzer. The lead swelled to as many as 28 as Romero found minutes for everybody.
All five starters scored, led by Gholston with 17. Clayborn scored 16, Alonzo Stafford 15, Kendric Warren 13 and Daniel Nwosuh 12. Burton chipped in with 13 off the bench.
“Offense is never the issue for us,” Romero said. “I’ve felt like we’ve guarded better lately, especially the Mac game and the Grace game.”
The Tigers were 13 of 33 from 3-point as the longball continues to be their friend. They also had 38 baskets on 23 assists as there was good ball movement.
The Tigers now pack up and head to Hays on Wednesday for an exhibition game with Fort Hays State, which includes McPherson High grad Kyler Kinnamon. Game time at Gross Coliseum is 7 p.m.
“The guys are really looking forward to that one,” said Romero, though the game doesn’t count on the CCC record since Fort Hays State is NCAA Division II.
Central (98) — Gholston 17, Stafford 15, Warren 13, Nwosuh 12, Clayborn 16, Burton 13, Guillory 6, Jackson 2, Robbins 4.
Manhattan Christian (78) — Miller 17, Frost 6, Woods 3, Babalola 6, Chisam 14, Brooks 8, White 15, Norris 3, Douglas 4, Robinson 2.
• CCC WOMEN 75, MANHATTAN CHRISTIAN 61 — The Lady Tigers broke into the victory column after opening the season with four losses.
A 22-11 third quarter swung the game Central’s way.
Manhattan Christian was playing its first game since the tragic death of freshmen Sally Rowell, and had only six players available.
Heather Crittenden led CCC with 20 points. Molly Young had the best game of her career with 14, Ashlyn Garza had 12 points off the bench, and Abbie Banks had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
“I am very happy for the girls that they broke through and got their first win tonight,” CCC coach Chris Honeck said. “We did a lot of things very well tonight and although we still have a lot to work on, I feel as if we took a major step forward by finding a way to win when some of our shots weren't falling. We shot well overall, better than we have all season in fact, but we missed 19 layups and point-blank shots. We can't afford to leave 38 points on the court as we move forward. I was also very pleased that we took much better care of the ball tonight. We had just 11 turnovers in the game, and only four in the second half.”
Central is on the road for two games this weekend in Denver. It plays Northern New Mexico on Friday, and Johnson and Wales on Saturday.
Central (75) — Laskowski 6, Crittenden 20, Young 14, Brooks 4, Banks 11, Garza 12, Richard 4, Austin 4.
Manhattan Christian (61) — Wenger 13, Zarzutzki 19, Casada 12, Stoll 6, Reynolds 4, Hurla 7.