It looked as though Redlands (OK) forgot to get off the bus Monday night at the Dennis Lesh Sports Arena, allowing Pratt Community College to race out to a 10-0 lead in the first two minutes.
It turned out there was a reason for that. “There was a miscommunication on the game time,” explained PCC head coach Jesse Shaw. “Redlands only got here 45 minutes before tip-off. I offered to push the game time back for them, but their coach decided to go ahead and play at 7 as scheduled.” (With no women’s game being contested, the earlier time was set, with this being finals week.)
In retrospect, that may have been a mistake on Redlands part, as the Cougars appeared to be shaking off the road wearies until almost midway into the opening half. PCC’s Aaron Abram buried a flurry of threes in the early going, and after DeShun Roberts had steals and breakaway lay-ups on consecutive Redlands possessions, the Beavers had opened their biggest lead of the game—23-8 with 13 minutes left in the half.
“Aaron came out hot, and Redlands came out flat,” observed Shaw. “From there on out, it was a battle the whole way, though.”
Redlands switched to a zone defense, and PCC began missing most of their shots. Aside from a spectacular alley-oop reverse slam-dunk engineered by Abram off a feed from Javis Flynn, the Beavers were pretty quiet offensively over the next ten minutes while Redlands began to find the range.
At the 3-minute mark, Redlands hit a three-ball, knotting the count at 29. But then Sean Michaelson answered with a three for PCC and Ralph Abraham had a follow-shot ‘and-one’ to stake the Beavers to a 35-30 cushion at the break.
The Beavers seemed to have made an adjustment in their zone offense after halftime. Michaelson hit another 3 and Roberts canned a 3 and a field goal in the early going to pace the Beavers to a 13-6 run in the early going. At 14:48, it was 48-36 Beavers.
The teams then basically traded buckets for the rest of the game. The Cougars would get no closer than 8, and at one point a pair of transition baskets put PCC back up by as many as 14. But basically the margin stayed about 10 for the balance of the second half. Down the stretch, as hack time commenced, PCC was able to hit enough free throws to keep the Cougars at arms length. Point guard Javis Flynn knocked down 9/12 free throws on the evening.
The 79-69 victory was the Beavers second triumph over Redlands, the first being a 5 point win at their place back in mid-November. PCC goes into the break 9-4. They will take 3 weeks off for finals and the holidays, returning to action December 30 against Emporia State JV. They will have another tune-up on January 2 against McPherson JV before the Jayhawk season opens on Jan. 7 vs Cloud.
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Stivrins 2-0-0/1-4; Aaron Abram 3-3-2/2-17; Flynn 1-0-9/12-11; Rogers 2-0-2/2-6; Michaelson 1-2-0/0-8; Taylor 5-0-1/2-11; Abraham 3-0-2/3-8; Roberts 4-1-3/4-14