• February 19, 2020

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Second half surge lifts Wranglers past Hawks - Odessa American: Sports

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Second half surge lifts Wranglers past Hawks

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:16 pm

The Howard College men’s basketball team seemingly couldn’t miss during the first half, hitting 50 percent of its shots from the field and from three-point range.

Odessa College wasn’t fazed.

The Wranglers were, however, trailing at halftime and with 15 minutes to play, the visiting Hawks seemed to be in control and set to sweep the season series.

Odessa College, though, wasn’t ready to see its three-game winning streak come to an end on its home court.

Sparked by the play of Tavon Jones, Tauriawn Knight, Mam Ayuel and David Ward, the Wranglers roared back for an 85-69 victory in Western Junior College Athletic Conference play Thursday at the OC Sports Center.

Odessa College (14-11 overall, 7-5 in conference) outscored the Hawks, 34-11, during a furious comeback.

Jones led the team with 20 points, with Knight and Jayscon Bereal each finishing with 12 points in the victory. Joe Kasperzyk added 10, with Ayuel had a game-high 12 rebounds.

“We could never, ever get over the hump there for a long period of time,” Odessa College coach Kris Baumann said. “Some of it was their shot making and some of it was I thought they got a little tired, I thought our size finally kind of wore them down a little bit.

“David Ward had two big 3s back to back. These guys really feed off each other.”

Darrell Green led Howard College (14-13, 4-9) with a game-high 27 points, including 6-of-9 from long distance. Tucson Redding added 14 and Eric Reed Jr. finished with 10 in the loss.

Howard College opened the game with an 8-0 run and continued to control the pace, opening a 10-point gap (37-27) with less than five minutes to play before halftime.

In the first meeting, a double-digit loss in Big Spring, the Hawks pulled away to a 15-point lead at halftime and kept that margin throughout the second half.

Jones, Ayuel and Joe Kasperzyk made sure that scenario wouldn’t repeat itself, combining for 11 points in the final four minutes to keep Odessa College within shouting distance after 20 minutes (45-38).

Howard College maintained that lead through the first five minutes and then the roof fell in on the Hawks.

“Everyone contributed, everyone started making big shots in key moments,” Jones said. “It was a collective team win tonight.

“We just had to execute, listen to coach. Like he always says, he’ll put us in a position to win if we listen.”





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