by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Twenty-seven times Kansas City Kansas Community College and Southwestern (Iowa) exchanged leads Saturday.
Unfortunately, it was the Spartans who had the last one, winning 83-82 on Akeem Woods’ reverse layup with 9.5 seconds remaining.
The loss was only the second in the last six games and left the Blue Devils 5-9 heading into the holiday break. They do not resume play until a road encounter at Hutchinson Jan. 8 followed by the KCKCC Classic against On Point Academy and Metropolitan Jan. 10-11.
For spectators, this was a dandy battle in which both teams shot 50 percent or better with relative few turnovers or fouls (21 total) for a fast-paced, up-and-down shootout. KCKCC had 10 turnovers, Southwestern 8.
In the end, a 35-30 edge on the boards was the difference, Southwestern converting 10 offensive rebounds into 14 second chance points to just four for the Blue Devils.
“We didn’t play defense well enough,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “We gave up too many layups; not enough back side help.”
Three-point shooting helped KCKCC keep pace in the roller-coaster fray. Six Blue Devils combined to net 11-of-28 treys (39.3 percent); Southwestern was just 7 for 25 for 28 percent. DeAngelo Bell had three 3-pointers, Ezekiel Lopes, Deron McDaniel and Tim Barbieri two each.
McDaniel had 18 points, Ball and Jermaine Yarbough 17 each to lead the way. Lopes added 10 points, Barbieri 8 and Jalen Davis 6. Robert Rhodes led rebounding with a game high 12 and handed out five assists. Calvin Slaughter led in assists with six, Ball had five as KCKCC had 19 assists on 32 field goals.
Southwestern, which pulled away in the second half for an 87-77 win earlier this season, built a 52-44 lead 2½ minutes into the second half but the Blue Devils bounced right back and went ahead 58-57 on a McDaniel 3-pointer and neither team led by more than three-points in a roller-coaster finish.
McDaniel layups twice gave KCKCC 3-point leads in the final 1:40 but the Spartans stayed close on a Woods’ basket and two James Kelley free throws with 54.7 seconds left.
“We wanted to run clock and try to get a last shot and we did get a good shot (by Ball) that just missed,” Burgette said.
After Woods; go-ahead basket with 9.5 left, the Blue Devils got one last attempt but misfired.
“We just traded baskets; we never got consecutive stops when we had the lead,” Burgette said. “You just can’t let a team shoot 50 percent and expect to win.”
The Blue Devils were 32-of-61 for 52.5 percent for the game to 32-of-64 for Spartans, who were almost perfect from the foul line with 12-of-13.