The Odessa College men’s basketball team got the win to start the 2023-24 season, defeating Ranger College 71-62 in the first day of the Bob Chapman Classic Wednesday at the Chaparral Center.
The Wranglers (1-0) were held to a close first half before using a strong start to the second half to help pull away from the Rangers (0-1).
“Ranger College is a very good team,” Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. “They’re very talented. They were missing one of their guards. We beat a good team today and a well-coached team.”
It was the first game of the season for both teams as the Wranglers are coming off a 30-4 overall record from last year which included a trip to the quarterfinals in the NJCAA Tournament.
The Rangers, who went 27-8 last year, are also coming off a national tournament appearance from last spring in Hutchinson, Kan.
Odessa College was led in scoring by sophomore Brandon Maclin who had 23 points, going 9-18 on field goals and 2-6 on 3-pointers and 3-3 from the free throw line.
Sophomore Daryl Houston had 17 points after going 7-11 on inside shots, 1-2 from beyond the arc and 2-2 from free throws.
Ranger College was led by Asjon Anderson who scored 16 for the Rangers, going 4-14 on inside baskets, 1-8 on 3-pointers and 7-10 from the line.
His teammate Andrew Holifield had 10 points after shooting 4-14 from inside, 1-6 on 3-pointers and 3-4 on free throws.
The Wranglers led 35-31 at the half, but came out strong in the second half, going on an 11-1 run to take control of the game and not look back.
“I thought the start of the second half was a big, separating factor,” Baumann said. “I thought we got some easy baskets and I thought that was the difference in the game. We got up 10-12 points and that was big for us.”
The Wranglers began the game on a 13-11 run as both teams kept it close in the opening eight minutes.
However, the Rangers took a 19-15 lead with under 10 minutes left in the first half.
Ranger College’s Elisha Warren hit a 3-pointer to give the Rangers a 22-17 lead with 8:24 left in the first half.
The Wranglers jumped in front on a 3-pointer by Houston, giving Odessa College a 28-26 lead with 4:17 left in the half.
With 37 seconds left in the first half, Sanders was sent to the line where he went 1-of-2, giving the Wranglers a 33-31 lead.
Sophomore Peter Oduro closed out the first half with a lay-in and the Wranglers led 35-31.
Three quick baskets gave the Wranglers 6-1 run to begin the second half, two of which were transition baskets by Maclin.
A layup by Houston made it an 11-point lead.
Maclin drilled a 3-pointer soon after and it 46-32, Odessa College with 17:24 remaining.
However, the Rangers eventually used an 11-3 run to close the gap to six points with 10:05 left in the game.
“We had a chance to break it open some more, but we got a little careless and a little too casual,” Baumann said. “We didn’t keep our foot on the pedal.”
Holifield drilled a 3-pointer from the right side of the perimeter to cut Odessa College’s lead to 51-46 soon after.
Houston fouled out with 7:12 left on the clock.
Maclin’s inside basket with 6:37 left gave the Wranglers a nine-point lead before Anderson’s long-range 3-pointer answered back.
Ranger College never went away, but Odessa College managed to stay in front as the minutes ticked away in the season opener.
Sharrod Taylor was sent to the line for Ranger College where he made both free throws with 3:39 remaining, bringing the Rangers to a 63-57 deficit.
Freshman Esyah Pippa-White made back-to-back free throw buckets for the Wranglers with 2:31 on the clock to give Odessa College an eight-point advantage.
The Wranglers continued to stay in front and wouldn’t be denied.
The Wranglers will be back on the court to face Phoenix College at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Chaparral Center.
Ranger College will next face Howard College at 3 p.m. Thursday at the Chaparral Center.