T-Ducks Split Over the Weekend
This past weekend the T-Ducks visited Connors State College and their “Cowboy Classic.” The T-Ducks faced Division I teams, Murray State College and host Connors State College on Friday and Saturday, respectively. This is an annual trip for the T-Ducks and typically is beneficial for team bonding, as well as good competition.
Facing Murray State College on Friday would prove to be a daunting task, as this would be the first game of the season for the Aggies. Therefore, there was no film or scouting report available. Having no knowledge of the other team can prove to be costly. However, the T-Ducks stuck to their very own game plan. That was to play hard, have fun, and defend. The beginning of the game started off slow as both teams were struggling to score and make plays. This would be the case for much of the first half. At the 15 minute mark the game was tied at 7 a piece. Then at the 10 minute mark it was 14-15. And at the five minute mark it was 28-24 in favor of the T-Ducks. The T-Ducks took a 40-35 lead into halftime. During the last 10 minutes of first half play the T-Ducks were able to go on a 26-20 run sparked by freshmen Billy Sherakas, Michael Richardson, D.J. Wilson, Ngong Kok, and sophomores Nathan Smith and Cory Pace.
The T-Ducks have proven that they are a second half team in each of the first six games this season. So nothing would change to start this second half. The T-Ducks jumped out to a commanding 53-40 lead in the first five minutes sparked by a 13-5 run led by Wilson and Duke Hamilton. The Aggies were able to close the gap to four, 74-70 with five minutes to play. But timely baskets and free throws by Hamilton, Sherakas, and McMichael Jamison would allow the T-Ducks to keep the lead until the final buzzer. The T-Ducks were able to hang on for a 89-81 victory for their fourth of the year.
The T-Ducks out-rebounded the Aggies 36-25, and shot 33 of 42 from the free throw line. We were led in scoring by Billy Sherakas (22 points), Duke Hamilton (18 points), Nathan Smith (12 points) and McMichael Jamison (10 points). Leading rebounders were Jamison (7), Tradarreon Moreland (6), and Hamilton (5).
Going to the Cowboy Classic is always a challenge as the host Cowboys are a perennial powerhouse year in and year out. This year was no different. However the T-Ducks were unaffected by the history and tradition. The game started off fast for the Cowboys as they went on a 6-0 run to start the game. Soon after the T-Ducks scored their first basket and it was a close game throughout. At the 10 minute mark of the first half the score was tied 17-17. But the Cowboys were able to take a 29-22 lead with five minutes remaining in the half. The T-Ducks battled through turnovers, offensive and defensive miscues, and were still able to go in to the locker room at halftime only down by a seven point margin. The T-Ducks were able to keep the game close with some tough defense sparked by sophomores Robert Sykes, James Montue, and Cory Pace. Pace drew 3 offensive fouls (charges) in the first five possessions of the game. Freshman Billy Sherakas provided an offensive spark off the bench. The T-Ducks had attempted 7 free throws to the Cowboys’ 24 in the first half. The Cowboys had also out-rebounded the T-Ducks 22-9.
The T-Ducks once again started the second half strong going on an 8-5 run sparked by some key offensive plays by Duke Hamilton and Tradarreon Moreland. Midway through the second half the Cowboys began to increase their lead and at one point they were up 60-48. The T-Ducks battled through adversity, physical play, and missed opportunities to cut into the lead, but were unsuccessful. At the final buzzer, the Cowboys had handed the T-Ducks their second loss of the season by a score of 70-60. The Cowboys out-rebounded the T-Ducks 54-21. They shot 30 of 42 from the free throw line compared to the T-Ducks’ 9 of 15. The T-Ducks’ defense continued to be a force allowing another Division I opponent just over 60 points. The T-Ducks had one player in double-digits, Sherakas (10 points). But we were able to get production from several players including Traddareon Moreland (9 points), Cory Pace (9 points), James Montue (9 points), Nathan Smith (8 points), and Duke Hamilton (6 points).
The T-Ducks are back in action, Tuesday, November 15, as we play host to El Centro College. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. The T-Ducks will then travel to Lee College on Friday for a two game classic against Tomball College and host Lee College.