Warner, OK- In an ebb-and flow contest Tuesday Night, the Connors State Cowboys held off a furious rally by Independence (Kan) Community College Pirates to remain undefeated on the year with a hard-fought 75-72 victory at Melvin Self Fieldhouse.
The game was close through the first 10 minutes until Cowboys freshman forward Bradyn Hubbard picked up his second foul and had to come out. At that point, Connors struggled as the Pirates opened a 33-23 lead with 5:00 left in the half. But as Hubbard returned to set things right, Eastern Oklahoma State Transfer tamaury Releford hit three quick baskets to rally the cowboys and they took a 37-36 lead at halftime.
The second half saw the cowboys slowly pull ahead behind Releford, who had 17 points, and sophomore guard Xavier Glenn, who had 16 of his team high 20 points in the second half, and they appeared in controle with a 66-54 lead with 5:30 left to play.
But Independence cut it to 72-68 with a minute to play. Jhamyl Fricas and Glenn hit a free throw each to make it 74-70, but the Pirates' Kam Parker hit a pair of charities with 4.6 seconds left to close it within two. The Cowboys Donyae May was fouled with 3.6 seconds left and hit one of two charities to make it a three-point game and a desperation shot just from inside mid-court by the Pirates at the buzzer was off the mark.
Free Throw shooting in the second half was a key as the Cowboys (4-0) hit just 11-of-22 while the Pirates went 8-of-11 but in the end Cowboys coach Bill Muse was happy to get the "W".
"After we got down in the first half we wnt to a zone, a good suggestion by (assistant coach) Bill (Muse Jr.) and we were able to catch up at the end of the half. I thought we played really well the first five minutes of the second half to build our lead up and we were able to hang on at the end.," said Muse.
"We're getting our big guys in foul trouble too early but fortunally we have some depth there and Tamaury really stepped up tonight."
Besides Releford, Glenn, May also got into double-didgets for the Cowboys with 12 points while Johan Nziemi led the Pirates with a game-high 22 points.