Of the first three games for Central Christian College’s men’s basketball team, the one it figured to be a decided underdog in was against Friends.
After going 0-2 against potential second-division KCAC teams Bethel and Kansas Wesleyan, the Tigers were home on Friday to take on the Falcons, picked by many to be in the Top 3 of the highly competitive KCAC.
But the Tigers finally found their game and defeated Friends 69-59 to reboot their season.
“It is great to get a win,” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “We did a much better job defending and rebounding, we had a good couple days of practice and preparation, our focus was much improved. I thought our front line guys were huge tonight. "Ken (Warren) and Jubril (Osagie) did well on both sides of the floor. We are still searching offensively, I know we will get it going."
The Tigers were up 41-33 at the half and pushed it out to 14 before the Falcons made their expected run.
Michael Gholston led the Tigers with 21 points. Osagie had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Warren snared 12 rebounds as the Tigers pounded the glass for a whopping 57-43 advantage.
The Tigers did a great job defensively as they held Friends to 21 of 68 from the field. All-American candidate Toby Baxter was just 4 of 14 and scored 14 points to lead the Falcons.
Central will begin gearing up for the unofficial Mayor’s Cup game on Wednesday when it host McPherson College at Alexander Arena, with tip time 8:00.
Central (69) — Warren 9, Gholston 21, Osagie 16, Clayborn 8, Nwosuh 5, Kuminga 4, Burton 6.
Friends (59) — Ratliff 11, Baxter 14, Steadman 10, Murdock 12, Mattox 3, Kyles 3, Cheros 2, Ndew 4.