The Odessa College men’s basketball team responded from Monday’s loss with an 86-66 win over Western Texas College Thursday in conference play.

The No. 6-ranked Wranglers-who suffered a 62-53 loss to New Mexico Military Institute Monday in Roswell, N.M.- used a strong second half to pull away from the Westerners.

The Wranglers outscored the Westerners 51-36 in the second half after only leading by five at the half.

“I thought it was the best team win that we’ve had this season,” Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. “I thought we were pretty balanced. I thought our defense in the second half was pretty good. Their coach does a great job with that group but I thought in the second half, we played pretty mature. I was happy.”

With the victory, Odessa College moved to 22-5 overall, 10-3 in WJCAC while Western Texas College fell to 10-14, 3-9.

Odessa College was led in scoring by Esyah Pippa-White who had 12 points while Darius Coleman and Jordan Ray each had 11.

“Daryl Houston played really well tonight,” Baumann said. “This was one of the best performances I’ve seen from him.”

Odessa College’s Daryl Houston (3) looks for an open teammate during the first half Thursday at OC Sports Center. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

The Westerners were led by Daniel Nixon’s 19 points while Aaron Potter had 18 and Sam Kodi had 11.

Western Texas College began the game on a 10-9 run.

Both teams traded baskets as the game remained close.

Willie Lightfoot’s 3-pointer gave the Wranglers a 22-19 lead with 7:11 left in the first half.

Odessa College’s lead was 35-30 at the half.

Willie Lightfoot was slow getting up at the halftime buzzer as his foot appeared injured.

He wouldn’t appear in the second half.

“I think Willie will be fine,” Baumann said. “I think he just sprained his ankle. We didn’t want him to hurt it any more. He’s a tough kid. He’ll be fine.”

The Wranglers began the second half on an 8-2 run.

A transition basket by Brandon Maclin gave the Wranglers a 45-32 lead.

Odessa College’s Jordan Ray (5) attempts a free throw in the first half against Western Texas College Thursday at the OC Sports Center. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

A slam dunk by Jordan Ray made it 47-36 in favor of Odessa College as the Wranglers kept a hold onto the lead with 14:41 left in the game.

Dylan Sanders added a 3-pointer shortly after.

The Wranglers maintained their advantage as they built a 60-45 lead off free throws from Pippa-White with 8:59 remaining.

Odessa College then used a 6-1 run to keep its foot on the gas pedal.

Odessa College’s Daryl Houston (3) takes the ball down the court in the first half against Western Texas College Thursday at the OC Sports Center. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

A jump shot by Houston capped a quick 4-0 surge from the Wranglers to make it 70-53 at the 5:39 mark.

There wasn’t much stopping Odessa College in the closing minutes of the game as the Wranglers continued to stay in front and managed to comfortably close things out.

The Wranglers will next face Clarendon College in a 7:30 p.m. contest Monday on the road while the Westerners will face Howard College at the same time in Snyder.

Odessa College will be looking to avenge its last meeting against the Bulldogs in which the Wranglers lost 68-66 on Jan. 25 at home.