C of O Splits Games at Bellevue Classic

by: Dori Rapinchuk, C of O Sports Information

The College of the Ozarks Basketball Teams split their final games at the Bellevue Classic against the host school:

Women’s Basketball defeats Bellevue University (Neb.), 73-63

 Score by Periods:  1        2       3       4
CofO Lady Cats     18     13     17     25
Bellevue (Neb.)      9      21     18     15

College of the Ozarks (CofO) women played on Saturday afternoon in day two of the Fairfield Inn Bellevue Bruins Classic against host Bellevue University, who received votes in the latest NAIA DII poll. The Bruins looked to avenge their mid-November loss during the Coke Classic to the Lady Cats. However, it was the Lady Bobcats who picked up the win, 73-63.

Both teams started the game cold from the field, with CofO leading after one quarter 18-9. CofO shot 38% from the field, while Bellevue managed just 25%. The Bruins heated up in the second quarter, shooting 47% from the field and outscored the Lady Cats 21-13. CofO struggled offensively in the quarter (28% FG), but still led by one at halftime 31-30. On the half, CofO held a 25-20 rebounding advantage. The Lady Cats had an uncharacteristic eight first-half turnovers and forced six of their own.

Bellevue stayed hot in the second half, shooting well over 50% from the field and captured their biggest lead of the game (three points) midway through the third quarter. CofO remained steady and tied the game at 48 headed into the fourth quarter. The Lady Cats were aided with 54% shooting from the field in the fourth period, along with sinking eight of ten free throws down the stretch. CofO also forced six fourth-quarter turnovers, resulting in nine points.

CofO held Bellevue to 63 points for the game, 18 below the Bruin’s average, for a final score of 73-63. The Lady Cats also finished with a 39-38 rebounding advantage, forced sixteen turnovers, and had just five second-half turnovers of their own for a total of thirteen. CofO continued hot three-point shooting (44%) and held Bellevue to 24%.

Kelsie Cleeton led all scorers with 18 points and pulled down ten rebounds.  Madi Brethower hauled in a game-high twelve rebounds. Cleeton was joined in double figures by Aleksei Smith with a season-high 17 points, and Cass Johnson and Abby Oliver with ten apiece. Brethower led the Lady Cats with five assists. Cleeton grabbed four steals, including a clutch takeaway in the last minute to seal the victory.

“It was a great team victory for us and a solid weekend against two quality opponents,” stated Head Coach Becky Mullis, referring to Saturday’s game versus Bellevue and their win over #15 Hastings College on Friday.

CofO will be off next week and continue their stretch of road games at Cottey College on January 8th.

Men’s Basketball falls to Bellevue University (Neb.), 86-77 in OT

Score by Periods:  1        2       OT
CofO Bobcats        41     30      6
Bellevue (Neb.)     38     33     15

College of the Ozarks Bobcat basketball suffered their fourth loss of the season on Saturday evening in a battle against Bellevue University, as the Bruins collected an 86-77 overtime victory.

The Bobcats opened the game with a three-pointer by Heath Carmichael and another by Klay Barton to take a 6-2 lead, but Bellevue came back to tie the game at 8.  The Cats again stretched the lead to a 17-10 advantage with 14 minutes remaining, and maintained the lead through the next ten minutes of play before Bellevue again pulled close.  The Cats headed for the locker room at the half with a 3-point lead, 41-38.  The Bobcats shot 53.3% from the field and 55.6% from the three-point arc.   Bellevue went 55.2% from the field and 33.3% from three-point territory.

The second half found both teams off to a slow start over the first five minutes of play, with CofO holding a one-point lead at 43-42.  The remainder of the second half found the two teams battling for the lead, as the score was tied and the lead changed hand numerous times.   With 22 seconds remaining in regulation, and CofO trailing 69-71, Brandt Cochran made a layup to tie the game.  Bellevue took the ball down the court for the final shot, but missed a three-point jumper to close the half in a 71-71 tie.  The Bobcats shot 45.8% from the field and 40% in three’s, while Bellevue hit 42.9% of their field goals and 12.5% of their three-point shots.

In overtime, Bellevue shooters came out with a hot hand, and hit 6-of-7 shots (86%) to outscore the Bobcats 15-6 and claim the 86-77 overtime victory.

Bobcat Head Coach Steve Shepherd commented, “It was a great effort by our guys in a tough environment, and I am proud of the way they played—we just came up short.”

The Bobcats, now 12-4, will return to their home court next Thursday, January 3, for the McDonald’s CAM JAM game against Central Christian College of the Bible at 7 p.m.  Fans will be admitted free of charge in exchange for 5 canned goods, which will be donated to CAM—Christian Action Ministries, who provides assistance for individuals in need from the Branson Tri-Lakes Community.