by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
North Central Missouri was as good as its No. 1 ranking in a 97-75 win over Kansas City Kansas Community College in Trenton Monday night.
The Pirates improved their NJCAA DII record to 15-1 while KCKCC fell to 6-11 heading into a pair of home games this week.
The Blue Devils play host to Saint Mary junior varsity Thursday and Park University junior varsity Friday with 7 p.m. starts each night.
Leading 41-34 at the half, North Central pulled away in the final half for its 13th straight win.
“We had a great first half, the toughest we’ve played in a 20-minute stretch,” KCKCC coach Brandon Burgette said. “We mixed up defenses knowing they struggled shooting the ball and played hard.
“We just ran out of gas the second half. We could just not catch any momentum once they found a rhythm,” he said. “They killed us on the glass and won every 50-50 ball and those are the plays that win games.”
Four Blue Devils scored in double figures. Jermaine Yarbough had 17 points and Deron McDaniel 16 to lead the way while Jalen Davis added 13, Calvin Slaughter 10 and Robert Rhodes and Ezekiel Lopes 8 each.
Rhodes led the way defensively with five blocked shots and he and Yarbough shared the lead in rebounds with seven each while Lopes added five with two blocked shots.
The Blue Devils were 27-of-66 for 40.9 percent from the field and 17-of-21 from the free throw line (.810) but just 6-for-22 from 3-point (.273).