Tigers' comeback bid comes up just short in 68-67 road defeat
Playing its final game of the regular season, the Cowley College men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point second half deficit in its game at Pratt Community College on Wednesday only to fall by a score of 68-67.
Cowley (15-15) finished in sixth place in the Jayhawk Conference with a record of 11-13 and will host 11th-seeded Independence Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the First-Round of the Region VI Playoffs.
The Tigers trailed Wednesday's game by a score of 43-35 at the end of the first half. Pratt would go on to score the first four points of the second half to lead by 12 before Cowley started on its comeback.
Cowley grabbed its first lead since 16-15 following a three-pointer by Xavier Valley with 7:11 left to play. The trey by Valley, his fourth of the game, put Cowley ahead 60-57. The Tigers' lead would grow to 65-61 following a three-point play by Mekhi Cameron with 4:55 remaining.
The Tigers would remain in front until Cam Morris' layup put Pratt back in front 68-67 with 1:40 left in the game. The score would remain that way when Morris went to the free-throw line with five seconds showing on the clock.
Morris would miss both free throws and Cowley pushed the ball up court to Cameron who missed the potential game-winning three-pointer as the final buzzer sounded.
The loss marked the second time this season Cowley has suffered a one-point defeat on the road.
"We had every chance to win, but late in the game we decided to go away from what was working for us," Cowley head coach Donnie Jackson said.
Cowley out-shot Pratt 43.3 percent to 40 percent from the floor and made five more three-pointers than the Beavers. However, Pratt out-scored Cowley 18-4 from the free-throw line.
"Xavier and Mekhi are showing what the future looks like for us next year," Jackson said.
Playing his first game since suffering an injury in early December, freshman post player Faustin Phanor provided the Tigers with 11 minutes off the bench.
"Faustin provided a spark to the team and played with great energy," Jackson said.
Nasan Ayala led Pratt (14-16) with 19 points as the Beavers finish with the 10th-seed in the Region Tournament with a regular season conference mark of 9-15.
Cowley will now prepare to face an Independence squad that they split a pair of games against during the regular season. The Tigers, which finished the regular season with a record of 10-4 at home, defeated the Pirates 92-77 back on February 5 inside W.S. Scott Auditorium. Independence (12-18) finished the regular season with back-to-back wins.
"We are glad to be playing at home," Jackson said. "Independence is not an easy matchup, they can really score the basketball. We will have to defend and play with a sense of urgency. We would love to pack the gym. The fans have been a driving force to a lot of our home wins."
Cowley (67): Raishaun Brown 0-6 0-1 0, Mekhi Cameron 7-13 1-1 19, Clarence King 6-16 0-2 14, Xavier Valley 8-10 1-2 21, Kennedy Willis 1-2 0-0 2, Xavier Washington 2-7 0-0 5, Emmanuel Austin 0-3 0-2 0, Christian Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Faustin Phanor 0-0 2-2 2, KJ Spiller 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 26-60 4-10 67.
Pratt (68): D.J. Bailey 3-9 0-0 6, Harrison Eghan 3-5 2-2 11, Nasan Ayala 6-12 6-9 19, A.J. Weston 0-10 2-2 2, Cam Morris 6-11 3-5 15, Eric Rhymes 2-5 0-0 6, Julian Eziukwu 1-1 5-6 7, Quintin Metcalf 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 22-55 18-24 68.
Three-pointers: Cowley 11-27 (Cameron 4-8, Valley 4-6, King 2-7, Washington 1-2, Brown 0-3, Williams 0-1), Pratt 6-20 (Eghan 3-4, Rhymes 2-4, Ayala 1-5, Weston 0-5, Bailey 0-2). Rebounds: Cowley 31 (Cameron 7), Pratt 36 (Morris 12). Assists: Cowley 17 (King 7), Pratt 18 (Weston 5). Turnovers: Cowley 5, Pratt 11. Total fouls: Cowley 20, Pratt 12. Fouled out: Valley. Technicals: none.