by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
North Central Missouri broke open a tight game to start the second half and turned back all Kansas City Kansas Community College challenges in a 100-86 win in the Keith Lindsey Classic Saturday.
The loss left the Blue Devils 1-5 as they head back on the road for four more games starting Wednesday against Metropolitan Community College on the Penn Valley campus. The KCKCC women open the doubleheader at 5 p.m. with the men colliding at 7 p.m.
North Central ran its record to 6-1 by shooting 54.5 percent (36-of-66). The Pirates are one of four KCKCC opponents with two or less losses this season and the five losses are to teams with a combined record of 27-8.
“We’ve got to worry more about us than our opponents,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “We have a tough schedule, a tough opponent every night. We have a lot that needs to be fixed.”
Led by 6-8 Sevon Witt, KCKCC led by as many as seven points midway through the first half. Witt scored the Blue Devils’ first 10 points (18 the first half) as the Blue Devils opened a 30-23 lead on a Calvin Slaughter 3-pointer with 8:49 left in the half.
There were three ties and six lead changes before North Central eked out a 50-45 halftime lead – and then took command to start the second with an 11-2 run that expanded the Pirates’ lead to 61-47.
“They made a run and we struggled to battle back,” Burgette said. “They got the layups when they wanted and made us work hard for us.”
Witt finished with game highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds, his third straight double-double and fifth in six games. Cody Dortch added 16 points of 6-of-7 shooting including 3-for-3 from 3-point.
Jermaine Yarbough chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds; Ezekiel Lopes nine points and six rebounds; and Slaughter nine points. DeAngelo Bell led in assists with five while Robert Rhodes had six rebounds in helping KCKCC win the board battle 45-40.
However, the Blue Devils could not match the Pirates’ deadly shooting, 19-of-32 for 59.4 percent the first half and 17-of-34 the second. The Blue Devils had 11 more shots but were 31-of-77 for 40.3 percent. KCKCC also lost the turnover battle 20-12 with North Central turning the 20 turnovers into 26 points.