Thunderbirds return home, rout Tigers 120-58
It had been better than a month and a half since the Cloud County Thunderbirds had played a game in Bryant Gymnasium, but it didn't take them long to feel right at home.
Cloud County had seven players score in double figures, shot 53 percent from the field and knocked down 10 of 23 three-point attempts in a 120-58 rout over the Central Christian College junior varsity Wednesday night.
It was the first home game for the T-Birds since an overtime victory over Highland Community College back on Nov. 22.
"It is good to have one like that so everybody plays, everybody gains some confidence," Cloud County coach Chad Eshbaugh said, "Our schedule has been brutal. That is the first home game we have played since Nov. 22. It seemed like a long time, so it was good everybody got out there and got to compete."
Cloud County evened its record at 8-8 heading into Jayhawk Conference Western Division play.
The T-Birds are on the road for the Conference opener at Dodge City on Saturday night.
"We are hopeful that we are as ready as anybody going in with playing so many road games and playing a difficult schedule. We also understand the difficulty of this league," Eshbaugh said.
Freshman Trenton Kuhlman, averaging 1.3 points per game, came off the bench to lead Cloud County in the easy win over Central Christian by scoring 19 points. He hit seven of eight field goal attempts, including five of six threes.
Shaun Stewart, the T-Birds' leading scorer (20.9), was also seven of eight from the floor in scoring 17 points. He also had four rebounds and four assists.
Assane Diop chipped in 15 points.
Lorenzo Dillard had 14 points and six assists.
Jeremiah Brooks went five of six from the field in scoring 11 points.
Creighton Brinker and Kamal Shasi added 10 points each.
Shasi also handed out eight assists.
"It was nice to see some guys step up and hit some threes and hit some shots. Hopefully that will give them some confidence," Eshbaugh said, "I was very pleased that we had 27 assists. That is a big number."
Stewart connected on two of his threes as Cloud County got out to an 11-0 lead in the game.
Central Christian hung around for the first seven mintues of the game.
A three-point basket by Curtis Sinahamu left the Tigers trailing just 21-16 with 13:00 to play in the first half.
A basket by Diop, seven straight points by Dillard and a bucket by Emeka Okoronkwo pushed Cloud County's lead to 32-16.
Shawn Robbins hit a jumper for Central Christian, but the T-Birds answered with a basket by Brinker and a three by Stewart to go up 37-18.
Leading 37-21, the T-Birds went on a 14-2 run to make it a 51-27 game.
Cloud County had a commanding 56-27 halftime lead.
Each team scored in the first 45 seconds of the second half.
Dillard then scored six points in just over a minute to give Cloud County a 64-29 cushion.
The two teams spent the next four minutes trading baskets.
Leading 77-42, the T-Birds tossed in six points in 52 seconds to go up 83-42.
The Tigers got no closer than 39 points after that.
Cloud County finished with a whopping 69-34 rebounding advantage in the game.
Matthew Haynes led Central Christian with 12 points.
Tere Adams scored 11 points for the Tigers, and Kevin Zea added 10 points.
The Tigers shot just 29 percent (22 of 75) from the field and were 9 of 16 from the line for 56 percent.
Cloud County plays two straight road games to open conference play before returning home to host Barton County on Jan. 18.
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