Agonizing loss for Central men

By Steve Sell
February 06, 2016
Rhylee Richardson

Central Christian College’s men seem to lose nothing but heartbreakers when matched up against College of the Ozarks.

Friday was no different as the Bobcats prevailed 74-72 in the Tigers’ most gut-wrenching loss of the season at Alexander Arena.

Down 74-72, CCC star Alonzo Stafford was fouled with less than a second remaining on a 3-point attempt to win the game. Stafford missed the first two free throws and then tried to miss the last one on purpose hoping for a Tiger tip-in. But he didn’t draw rim as Central fell to 15-6 on the season while Ozarks is 17-5.

The game, however, may have been lost in the first half. The Tigers came out red-hot, up as many as 11. But C of O roared back within one at the break, 39-38.

Central led by as many as five late, but the Bobcats again rallied to put another dagger in the Tigers’ heart.

“The effort was there, the talk was there," CCC coach Tony Romero said. "We had a lot of opportunities to push out at moments and just couldn't convert. They are too good of a team to give them that many chances to stick around. We did a lot things well that put us in position to get the win, we just came up short. We could have done a better on the glass, we didn't go after the ball very hard.  We have to keep our heads and bounce back."

Stafford and Michael Gholston led CCC with 15 points apiece and Ernest Burton added 10 off the bench. Central made only 5 of 18 from 3, normally one of its strengths. Stafford did pluck 10 rebounds to complete a double-double.

Central is hosting Haskell today at 5:00 at Alexander Arena.

CCC (72) — Stafford 15, Warren 2, Nwosuh 6, Gholston 15, Clayborn 8, Jackson 7, Burton 10, Adams 9.

C of O (74) — Frazier 3, Stardbird 12, Paschke 17, Young 6, Murray 12, Carmichael 7, Smith 12, Burland 6.

• COLLEGE OF OZARKS WOMEN 79, CENTRAL 51 — The Lady Bobcats, the No. 4 team in the country, struggled early with Central before assuming command.

A huge second quarter pushed the halftime lead to 41-24.

The loss spoiled a terrific game by MacKenzie Woods, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds. No other Tiger hit for double figures.

“Overall, I wasn't too happy with tonight's game,” CCC coach Chris Honeck said. “There were stretches where we did things pretty well. Our defense wasn't too bad when we followed the game plan and scouting report, and offensively, when we ran our stuff the way we're supposed to, we were pretty good. The problem we had, though, was when C of O stepped up their game at the defensive end of the court, we only had three or four kids who got tough and continued to try to do things the way we need to. Unfortunately, we need to have all five kids doing it right all the time to be successful, especially against a team as good as College of the Ozarks, and we're not getting that against the level of competition we've played lately."

Nationally ranked Haskell is here today for a 3 p.m. game at Alexander Arena.

Central (51) — Woods 18, Crittenden 6, Brooks 8, Costello 2, Banks 5, Young 2, Grimaldo 8, Stackhouse 2.

C of O (79) — Uchtman 8, McMenamy 6, Simmerman 10, Roberts 6, Wisdom 9, Brethower 5, Cleeton 8, Johnson 9, Underdown 4, Bovard 14.