Sometimes winning ugly is what it takes like it did here Wednesday in Jayhawk Eastern Division play.
Allen County Community College’s Red Devils clearly did not have their best game here Wednesday night. But they were good enough to hold off a second-half challenge by visiting Labette Community College Cardinals.
The Red Devils had a 20-point lead, 45-25, with 15:27 left in the game. The Cardinals rattled off 10 unanswered points. Allen County held.
Labette chipped it down to a five-point margin, 58-53, by the 4:55 mark. Again the Red Devils held and finished it, winning 79-68.
“We were sluggish tonight. We had a few flurries offensively that we were pretty good but overall it was not our best game,” said Mike Hayes, ACCC head coach.
“Our defense was great in the first half and we got the great separation, 20 points. Then I don’t know what happened. Our defense was horrible in the second half letting Labette get so deep toward the basket every possession.”
Speaking of deep. The Red Devils worked the ball around in their possession after Labette closed to within five. Aaron Jackson nailed a three-pointer from deep in the corner.
Andra Bailey, coming off the bench Wednesday grabbed one of his 11 rebounds off a missed Cardinal shot.
Jackson hit one of two free throws but right there for the rebound was Bailey. Bailey was fouled and hit two foul shots putting ACCC up 64-53.
Larry Barber, who led the Cardinals with 23 points, sank two free throws. This time the Red Devils moved the ball around and Jackson buried another trey from the corner with just three seconds left on the 35-second shot clock.
Sophomore point guard Anthony Clagett saw his first action since hurting his ankle at the Jayhawk Shoot-Out three weeks ago. Clagett came off the bench and went 6 of 10 at the free-throw line for his six points.
He hit two of those at the 2:30 mark to counter two made by Labette.
Keevis Tukes was at the line for ACCC after a steal. He hit the first attempt, missed the second but got the rebound and scored. Allen County was up by 11, 73-62, with 47 seconds left.
Jackson hit six free throws in a row to help seal with win for Allen County. Jackson finished with 14 points as he was 8 of 10 at the line.
The Cardinals scored their final two points of the game with a second left. Allen County’s Chris Lee fouled Kyle Reed then was assessed a technical foul.
Alonzo Haywood hit one of the two technical foul shots to give him 13 points for the night. Reed also went 1 of 2.
“Labette didn’t give up. They confused our players with their man full-court press that they come up and jump to trap the ball. They were effective with that,” Hayes said.
Hayes said his team righted itself after the big charge back into the game by Labette. “We regained our composure and hit the free throws down the stretch.”
Allen County improved to 5-3 in Jayhawk East play and 10-9 overall. Labette dropped to 2-7, 7-14.
The Red Devils travel to Independence Saturday. Independence (5-3, 12-8) lost to Coffeyville 78-65 Wednesday.
“Independence is a tough place to go in and play at, let alone win. It’s good to have Andra back and Anthony back but not quite 100 percent. Chris’ hand is getting better and he plays through it,” Hayes said.
Dennis Rumph opened the Allen County scoring with a breakaway dunk then Tukes hit a three-pointer. Erik Law and Bailey had back-to-back baskets as the Red Devils took control.
It was 12-4 then the Cardinals came back to tie it at 13-13 with 7:01 on the first-half clock. Tukes, who had 18 points and five rebounds, hit a three and ACCC never trailed again.
Gavin Cole had a basket and hit a free throw for Allen County late in the half. Allen County led 31-20 at halftime.
Tukes stole the basketball for a basket as the second half began. Law had back-to-back baskets and Tukes scored on a fastbreak.
It appeared the Red Devils were cruising to a blowout. The Cardinals had other ideas and made a game of it for the last 15 minutes.
Allen County shot 59.5 percent, 25 of 42, from the field. The Red Devils cashed in on 24 of 38 free throw attempts, going 18 of 28 in the second half.
Bailey had 18 points for ACCC. Rumph pulled down 10 rebounds and had two steals. Jackson had four assists.
Allen County were without the services of sophomore guard Greg Hayes. Coach Hayes said Greg had been suspended from the team for disciplinary reasons. Coach Hayes said he would talk to Greg and determine when the player would rejoin the team.
Joining Barber and Haywood in double-figure scoring for LCC were Chris Nelson and Garland McArthur with 12 points each. The Cardinals were 25 of 51, 49 percent, from the field and went 17 of 26 from the line.
Allen County (31-48—79) (FG/3-pt): Rumph 4-1-1-9, Tukes 4/3-1-2-18, Jackson 0/2-8-4-14, Clagett 0-6-2-6, Cole 2-1-2-5, Law 3-3-4-9, Bailey 7-4-1-18, Lee 0-0-3-0. TOTALS: 20/5-24-19-79.
Labette (20-48—68) (FG/3-pt): Nelson 5-2-5-12, McArthur 5-2-4-12, Barber 6/1-8-5-23, Randall 0-0-1-0, Dupree 1-1-3-3, Reed 0-1-0-1, Crumpley 2-0-0-4, Haywood 5-3-3-13, Dawson 0-0-4-0, Lopez 0-0-4-0. TOTALS: 24/1-17-29-68.
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