Stingy Saints shut down Thunderbirds, 53-46
Seward County has been the stingiest team in the Jayhawk Conference, and it showed.
Allowing just 57 points per contest, Seward County held the Cloud County Community College Thunderbirds to 36 points below their season average in posting a 53-46 conference win Saturday night in Bryant Gymnasium.
Cloud County went into the game averaging 82 points, but was limited to 31 percent (17 of 55) shooting and committed 29 turnovers in falling to 5-4 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
Seward County, now 6-2 overall and 1-1 in the conference, has now held five opponents to fewer than 55 points thus far this season.
Both teams were struggling to score the basketball in the early going, and the Saints led the T-Birds 11-3 with more than seven minutes gone by.
Chad Vincent-Simon sandwiched a pair of baskets around a three-point shot by Jay Lewis to pull Cloud County within a point, 11-10.
Lewis led all scorers with 21 points. He was 7 of 19 from the field and three of four from the free throw line.
Stephen Takyi made one of two free throws to give Seward County a 12-10 cushion.
Cloud County scored the next six points to grab a 16-12 lead on a three by Lewis with 7:09 remaining in the first half.
A free throw by Rostyslav Novitskyi pulled the Saints within a point, 16-15.
Cloud County got a three-point play by Ty Duin and baskets by Denzel Ndongosi to go up 23-15.
Seward County trimmed the deficit to six points, 24-18.
Lewis made two free throws and DJ Sims scored on a drive to give the T-Birds their biggest lead of the game, 28-18.
Branton McCrary scored the final four points of the first half to pull the Saints back within six points, 28-22.
Lewis hit a three 1:36 into the second half to give Cloud County a 31-22 advantage.
The T-Birds would manage just three more field goals the rest of the way.
Seward County would close the gap to two points, 33-31.
Lewis knocked down another three, and Cloud County led 36-31 with 14:43 to play.
Scoring seven straight points, Seward County went on top 38-36.
Iyen Enaruna connected on his only field goal of the game to pull the T-Birds even at 38-38.
Cloud County then missed 12 straight shots from the field and turned the ball over five times as Seward County put together a 12-0 run to take a 50-38 lead.
The T-Birds went 9:39 without scoring before Enaruna hit one of two free throws to make it a 50-39 game with 2:21 to play.
Sims then connected on a three to close the gap to 50-42.
Two free throws by McCrary put the Saints up 52-42 with 1:40 on the clock.
Vincent-Simon scored 19 seconds later to again make it an eight-point game, 52-44.
Cloud County had a chance to pull closer, but turned the ball over.
Seward County ran the clock down to 26 seconds, and missed a shot.
Lewis scored with 14 seconds left, and it was 52-46.
McCrary hit one of two free throws to make the final margin seven points.
Lewis was the only T-Bird to score more than six points.
Enaruna grabbed 13 rebounds.
McCrary tossed in 16 points for Seward County and Kyle Cardaci added 11.
The Saints shot just 33 percent (19 of 57) from the floor and were just 1 of 14 from three-point range.
Cloud County will host Colby Community College (8-1) on Wednesday night in the final game prior to semester break.