COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Wranglers survive against Howard College

Odessa College got a much-needed victory in the form of a 62-61 win over Howard College Thursday at the OC Sports Center.

Playing in their final game of the regular season, the No. 12-ranked Wranglers improved to 23-5 overall, 11-4 in conference.

Odessa College was coming off an 88-79 loss to Clarendon College on Monday in Clarendon.

After an ugly first half in which the Wranglers trailed 38-28 at the break, Odessa College battled back in the second half and managed to avoid an upset.

“We didn’t look good in the first half,” Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. “I thought we recovered in the second half. Esyah Pippa-White made some big free throws, Jordan Ray made some big plays around the rim. We found a way to win which is always important at this time of the year.”

Odessa College was led in scoring by Pippa-White’s 17 points while Brandon Maclin had 11 and Daryl Houston had eight.

Howard College (17-12, 5-10) was led by Joey Madimba’s 20 points while Kasheem Grady had 17 and Alexzaye Johnson had 14.

The Wranglers took a 14-10 lead with 13:23 left in the first half.

Dylan Sanders’ 3-pointer made it 17-10 shortly after.

However, the Hawks responded with a 10-0 run to take a three-point lead.

A 3-pointer by Maclin brought the Wranglers to a 21-20 deficit with 8:22 left.

Sanders put Odessa College ahead with a 3-pointer of his own just a few moments later.

Johnson and Javier Glasgow-Gilgeous both made 3-pointers and Howard College had a 31-23 lead with 4:03 remaining and Odessa College called a timeout.

The Hawks continued to stay in front as Odessa College struggled to get a basket late in the half.

Peter Oduro’s inside basket made it a 37-25 deficit with under a minute before halftime.

Howard College’s lead at the half was 38-28.

The second half was a whole different story.

After battling back from a ten-point deficit, the Wranglers kept things close throughout the remainder of the game.

A jump shot by Madimba gave the Hawks a 58-54 lead with 3:53 left in the game.

Madimba was fouled by Maclin soon after and made both free throws to give the visitors a six-point lead.

However, the Wranglers used a quick 6-0 run, capped by a layup from Woods, to tie the game up.

A free throw from Elijah Terry put the Hawks ahead by one and both teams fought for the go-ahead basket with 37.1 seconds left.

Pippa-White was sent to the line where he made both free throws to give the Wranglers a 62-61 lead with 24.4 seconds left.

A missed basket by Madimba was rebounded by Jordan Ray for the Wranglers and he was soon fouled with 12 seconds left.

He shot would not fall through and the Hawks grabbed the defensive rebound before a timeout was called.

However, the hawks turned the ball over as time expired and the Wranglers got the win.

Odessa College will next face No. 2-ranked South Plains College at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Levelland to close out the regular season.

Howard College will close out its regular season at 7:30 p.m. March 7 against Frank Phillips College.