COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — Cloud County’s final trip to the free throw line in a foul plagued game proved to be the difference in a 102-99 loss to Northeast (Neb.) Community College in the Iowa Western Classic Saturday afternoon.
With Cloud County trailing Northeast 100-98, sophomore Ed Dyson stepped to the free throw stripe with an opportunity to tie the game with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Dyson connected on just one of two charity tosses, and the Thunderbirds were forced to foul.
Northeast knocked down a pair of free throws to secure the three-point victory.
There were 56 fouls called and 81 free throws shot in the game.
“It made for a very disjointed game and led to a lot of points because the clock was always stopped,” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County finished 23 of 35 from the line and Northeast was 29 of 46.
Trailing Northeast 42-37 at halftime, the T-Birds fell behind by double digits in the second half.
“It was a game of runs,’” Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County, which poured in 60 points in the second half, closed the gap to 100-98.
The T-Birds nearly came up with a steal out of their full-court pressure, and there was a scramble for a loose ball.
“We had a chance to make a steal down two. The ball got tipped and there was a scrum,” Eshbaugh said.
Northeast came up with the basketball, but Jabbar Washington was called for a technical foul, which sent Dyson to the line to shoot two free throws.
Dyson made one of two, and the T-Birds still trailed by a point, 100-99.
Northeast then hit two free throws with under a second to play.
Cloud County, now 7-4, lost 83-72 to Iowa Western on Friday, and went 0-2 on the weekend.
“It was a disappointing weekend overall,” Eshbaugh said, “For us to be successful we have to defend at a high level without fouling and we have to value the basketball. We struggled to do those two things.”
Cloud County turned the ball over 28 times.
James Williams was 8 of 13 from the field, including three of six from three-point range, and two of two from the line in scoring 21 points for Cloud County.
Dyson finished with 17 points for the T-Birds.
Rodrick Robinson scored 13 points.
Marvin Smith chipped in 12 points.
Marcus Fillyaw and Gerrae Williams added 11 points each.
The T-Birds were 35 of 74 from the field for 47 percent.
Sean McGary led the way for Northeast with 17 points.
KJ Bluford scored 16 points for the Hawks.
Corey Mitchell chipped in 15 points, Khapri Alston scored 14 and Washington had 11.
Northeast was 33 of 66 from the floor.
Cloud County travels to Columbus, Neb. to play Central Community College on Tuesday.