HAVILAND — It wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
Upstart Barclay College pushed Central Christian College’s men throughout Saturday’s basketball matchup, but in the end the differential in talent eventually won out.
The Tigers escaped with an 86-81 victory, with Alonzo Stafford pouring in 24 points, Michael Gholston adding 14 and Sam Clayborn chipping in with 10. They are now 6-1 on the season.
“I feel that we are playing very complacent basketball right now,” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “Credit Barclay for playing a very good game, however, we are really careless with the basketball the last few games and not playing with a lot of passion on the defensive side of the ball. The positive we can take from this game is that we had a really solid start to the second half, which gave us some cushion back for the remainder of the game. We have had a long string of games recently, and I am anxious to get back on the practice floor next week and work towards improving."
Central had to overcome a sluggish first half, as Barclay was sniffing an upset after taking a 46-42 lead at the break.
Free throws kept it close as CCC could bag only 20 of 32, while Barclay was an efficient 28 of 36.
The Tigers now have a mini-break, as they don’t play again until Friday when they head to Colorado Christian for the Colorado Christian Classic. Ironically, they’ll play Bethany College on Friday and Bethel on Saturday, two teams they are close to in actual proximity, though they’re traveling 8 hours to play them.
Central (86) — Gholston 14, Stafford 24, Warren 5, Nwosuh 3, Clayborn 13, Glynn 1, Jackson 7, Guillory 4, Burton 9, Robbins 6.
Barclay (81) — Lewis 3, Milton 8, Bradley 28, Hibler 2, Broadhead 22, Maloney 2, Pena 6, Gwess 4, Buck 2, Walker 4.
• JOHNSON AND WALES WOMEN 63, CENTRAL 62 — On the final day of the Johnson and Wales Classic, the Lady Tigers made a huge fourth-quarter charge Saturday, only to come up a point short.
Central outscored Johnson and Wales 23-15 in the final quarter and is now 1-6 on the season.
Heather Crittenden gave a powerful performance with 27 points and 19 rebounds, while Caitlyn Camp had her second straight solid game off the bench with 11 points.
Crittenden gave the Lady Tigers a 62-61 lead with 4 seconds left. However, the Lady Tigers were then whistled for a foul and two Wildcat free throws gave them the victory.
Central is home on Tuesday to take on Southwestern Christian University, with game time 5:30 p.m.
Central (62) — Laskowski 2, Crittenden 27, Brooks 9, Banks 6, Garza 5, Campa 11, Austin 2.
Johnson and Wales (63) — Sales 7, Weber 18, Maestas 2, Ward 22, Thomas 11, Butler 2, Nelson 1.