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Broncbusters use late run to down T-Birds, 88-85

GARDEN CITY —  Opening Jayhawk Conference play on the road, the Cloud County Community College Thunderbirds were outscored 15-4 over the final 3:25 of the game in suffering an 88-85 loss to Garden City Community College Wednesday night in Conestoa Arena.
Cloud County trailed Garden City by 10 points, 44-34, at halftime, but rallied in the second half to take an 81-73 lead late.
Garden City would then put together the 15-4 run, that included scoring the final three points, to hand the Thunderbirds the conference loss.
Cloud County falls to 5-3 overall, while the Broncbusters improve to 7-3.
Shooting just 33 percent (12 of 32) from the field in the first half, the T-Birds trailed by 10 points at halftime.
Chipping away at that deficit in the second half, Cloud County tied the game at 54-54 when Denzel Ndongosi made two free throws with 13:25 to play in the game.
The two teams would spend the next four minutes exchanging baskets.
Cloud County would take its first lead of the second half at 60-59 when Michael Ozomah scored with 10:46 on the clock.
The T-Birds would push the lead to eight points, 81-73, on a bucket by Jay Lewis with 3:25 to play.
Lewis led the way for Cloud County with 22 points. The sophomore guard was 8 of 16 from the field, including four of six from three-point range, and two of four from the free throw line.
Kaleb Favors scored the next six points, and Garden City trailed just 81-79.
Favors tossed in 18 points for the Broncbusters.
Traylynn Spencer grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to pull the Broncbusters even with the T-Birds at 81-81 with 1:48 left.
A layup by Lewis 19 seconds later put Cloud County up 83-81.
Darius Roden made one of two free throws, and Garden City was down 83-82.
Tahlik Chavez, following an empty offensive possession by Cloud County, would knock down a three-point shot to give the Broncbusters the lead back at 85-83 with 49 seconds remaining.
The T-Birds tied the game at 85-85 when Ndongosi scored 17 seconds later.
Chavez drew a foul with 14 seconds left. He made both free throws to put Garden City on top 87-85.
A three-point attempt by Lewis wouldn’t fall, and Chavez got the rebound and was fouled. He made the second of two free throws to make it an 88-85 game with three seconds on the clock.
Cloud County would turn the ball over as time ran out.
Led by Lewis, the T-Birds had five players score in double figures.
Iyen Enaruna finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Ndongosi scored 11 points and grabbed nine boards.
Dyelan Reed and Chad Vincent-Simon added 10 points each.
Cloud County, after the cold-shooting first half, finished 31 of 66 from the floor for 47 percent.
The T-Birds made 11 of 22 three-point attempts and 12 of 16 free throws.
Chavez, who was 6 of 11 from three-point range, led all scorers with 26 points.
Roden scored 14 points and Spencer chipped in 12.
Limited to just one field goal in the first 5:23 of the game, Cloud County fell behind 11-2.
The T-Birds would battle back to take a 29-28 lead.
Garden City used a 16-5 run over the final 6:20 of the first half to go up 44-34.
Cloud County again rallied to go on top, but couldn't hold off the Broncbusters.
The T-Birds will host Seward County Community College in a conference game at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Seward is 5-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference following a loss to Butler Community College.


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