COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — A 22-point deficit to the ninth-ranked team in the country on its home floor was too much for the Cloud County Thunderbirds to overcome.
Cloud County fell behind Iowa Western Community College 47-25 in the first half.
The Thunderbirds shaved 11 points off the Reivers’ lead in the second half, but still suffered an 83-72 loss in the first round of the Iowa Western Classic on Friday.
Iowa Western shot 53 percent (16 of 30) from the field in the opening half, and limited Cloud County to 24 percent (8 of 34) shooting in building the big lead.
“If you dig yourself a hole against a team of that caliber, it is going to be hard to come back,” Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said.
The T-Birds were able to chip away at the Iowa Western lead, and had a chance to pull within single digits.
“We had an opportunity to make it a really tight game, but on three consecutive possessions we had turnovers,” Eshbaugh said.
Cloud County did outscore the Reivers 47-36 over the final 20 minutes.
“We played really well in the second half. I was proud of the way they competed,” Eshbaugh said.
Ed Dyson pumped in 25 points for Cloud County. He was 6 of 22 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free throw line and had six rebounds.
Isaiah Anakewe and Marcus Fillyaw scored 10 points each for the T-Birds.
Marvin Smith finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Cloud County was 23 of 71 from the floor for 32 percent and 19 of 30 from the free throw line for 63 percent.
Devin Brooks led four Iowa Western players in double figures with 23 points.
Dinjyil Walker scored 22 points for the Reivers.
Billydee Williams chipped in 12 points and Daouda Soumaoro had 10.
The Reivers hit 28 of 58 field goal attempts for 48 percent and 19 of 25 free throws for 76 percent.
In the other game played on Saturday, Colby Community College knocked off Northeast (Neb.) Community College, 85-80.