Central Christian College’s men have their mojo back.
The Tigers entered this weekend’s two-day Classic for Christ at Alexander Arena having lost three of their first four games.
They showed signs of looking like the Tigers of old on Friday by throttling Grace University and then Saturday it was safe to say they’re just about all the way back with an 84-63 rout of Oklahoma Wesleyan, which is expected to be one of the top contenders for the KCAC championship.
The Tigers were stunningly good in the first half, racing to a 40-19 lead as they held the Eagles to just 6 of 31 from the field. Wesleyan never made a serious run, as Central appeared to have the eye of the tiger back on defense. They contested every shot, even when the score was out of hand as they kept the hammer down for 40 minutes.
“I think the message was received after the Mac game (which CCC lost 80-65),” CCC coach Tony Romero said. “Sent and received. We didn’t look like ourselves in three of our first four games. At least this weekend we got some of that swagger back. I think the guys finally understand that we were not giving all that we had. We finally started making some shots this weekend. Some of guys had been really, really struggling.”
Central thus is back to .500 on the year at 3-3. Balance was a key as an incredible six players were in double figures in the win — Sean Guillory (13), Ernest Burton (13), Michael Gholston (13), Daniel Nwosuh (12), Jubril Osagie (12) and Sam Clayborn (11). Osagie, who Romero said is starting to figure out just how good he can be, added 10 rebounds for a double-double.
The Tigers did an amazing defensive job on Wesleyan star Breiman Alexander, an All-KCAC preseason pick. He was held without a point for the first 29 minutes, but had a burst where he showed how explosive he can be as he scored all 15 of his points in just over 3 1/2 minutes to lead the Eagles.
Romero is hoping his team will now get on a serious roll as it keeps busy with a Monday game at Manhattan Christian, which gave McPherson College a real battle earlier this season before losing by five.
CCC (84) — Guillory 13, Burton 13, Gholston 13, Osagie 12, Nwosuh 12, Clayborn 11, Lenard 2, Kuminga 8.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (63) — Bowers 2, Stjepanovic 3, Jack 9, Alexander 15, Lawrence 3, Diggles 2, Pavic 8, Davis 4, Schuessler 3, Howell 4, Hamilton 3, Everett 7.
• CCC WOMEN 57, GRACE UNIVERSITY 50 — You’ve got to give the Tiger women a ton of credit.
Playing their fourth game in six days with a seven-player roster, the Tigers gutted out their second win of the year against five losses.
“Obviously I'm pleased with the win, but this was far from our best game,” CCC coach Chris Honeck said. “We were very sloppy offensively and didn't shoot well in the second half. I'm sure some of that was due to fatigue, but we need to find that next level and play through it."
Piper Kalthoff had her second 28-point game of the year to lead CCC and just missed a double-double with 9 rebounds.
The loss spoiled a tremendous game by Grace’s Kayla Bloodworth, who scored 14 points and grabbed a whopping 19 rebounds.
Central continues its crazy schedule with its fifth game in eight days as it travels Monday to play Manhattan Christian College.
CCC (57) — Kalthoff 28, Hearne 9, Banks 7, Glessner 5, Rhoton 3, Grimaldo 3, Floyd 2.
Grace (50) — Evans 14, Amador 3, Ouedraogo 7, Eldridge 8, Bloodworth 14, Negley 2, Loux 2.