The Pratt Community College men’s basketball team was able to hold off visiting Butler County Wednesday night to capture an 84-79 victory at Dennis Lesh Sports Arena.
With their former coach in attendance, Lincoln East (Neb) high school teammates Jesse Shaw (PCC) and Mike Bargen (Butler) faced off with coaching bragging rights at stake.
The Beavers established a lead early on, and were able to hang on down the stretch for the win.
The Grizzlies must have thought it was raining 3-balls after the opening tip. Robert Davis knocked down a pair and Taylor Schieber hit one to help stake PCC to an early 11-2 lead.
Butler began to employ full-court pressure and got back in the game with 3 quick buckets. It was 11-8 Pratt at the 13:15 mark.
Then the Beavers got their pressbreaker working and went on a 9-0 run to get back up 20-8. In that stretch, Davis converted an “and-1”, Caion Seales had a pair of hoops and Daylin Thomas got a basket. At the media time-out Pratt led 22-12.
The officials took over much of the rest of the first half as the game slowed to a crawl. 12 of Pratt’s next 15 points were recorded from the charity stripe. Butler was also going to the line with alarming regularity. The Grizzlies offense—if you can call it that— consisted of getting the ball into the half-court, making one pass and then that guy lowers his shoulder and makes a 1-on-1 bull-rush at the basket, hoping to score or get fouled or both. If you think I’m exaggerating, the Grizzlies had one assist on the night. ONE!
However, the uncomplicated tactic was working for Butler, as the officials were cooperating and turning the game into a free-throw contest for a time. The Grizzlies got the better of it and closed to within 39-37 at the 2:00 mark.
A couple of Beavers made big plays at that point to get the Beavers’ ship righted. Schieber potted another 3 after acquiring the ball on a hustle play. Then Javis Flynn went coast-to-coast and converted an “and-1.” To close out the half, Flynn canned all 3 free throws as he was fouled shooting a trifecta at the buzzer. With the lane empty due to time having elapsed, Flynn slapped hands with imaginary teammates in between tosses. Pratt was able to take a 48-40 lead into the halftime locker room.
In the second half, the Beavers went into a zone occasionally to upset the Butler offensive rhythm and make it harder for them to drive the lane like wild men. That tactic proved successful and PCC was able to stretch their lead to 67-55 by the second half media time-out.
The Beavers were able to keep the lead at about that level until the 3:30 mark. Kevin Allen played well in the lane during that stretch, controlling the defensive boards, hitting 5/5 from the charity stripe, and converting a putback.
Page 2 of 2 - Butler turned up their efforts a notch at that point, and they were able to get the deficit down to just 4 with 10 seconds to play. However, PCC never relinquished the lead and was able to come away with the win, 84-79. It was a nice revenge victory for the Beavers, as they had lost to Butler at their place back in November.
“I was happy with the way we battled and did not fold at the end,” Beaver head coach Jesse Shaw expressed.
Pratt was outrebounded 45-37 but made up for that with hot shooting. “We have to get better on the glass,” Shaw acknowledged, “but it’s nice to make some shots. We might win a lot more games if we made some shots.” PCC hit 47% from the field (23/49) with the same % from behind the arc (7/15). They also made 80% of their freethrows (31/39).
The game made a nice springboard to the conference season for PCC. “That was exactly like a Jayhawk West game,” Shaw said. Hopefully that is a good sign, as the Beavers will open conference play with a visit to Barton County Saturday night, tip-off at 8 p.m.
PCC 48 36 84
Butler 40 39 79
Dobbins 2, Javis Flynn 14, Allen 7, Robert Davis 17, Thomas 2, Caion Seales 16, Roberts 9, Taylor Schieber 14, Tshikaya 3