Confidence was down when a buzzer-beating jump shot by Cowley County Community College’s Canon Fields settled into the netting, tying the score at 71-71.
“Our guys were down when they came over the bench. I just kept telling them ‘we’re OK, we’re OK,’” said Mike Hayes, Allen County Community head basketball coach, after the Red Devils bounced back to beat visiting Cowley County 98-84 in overtime Wednesday.
Hayes’ pep talk rang true for the Red Devils. He told Dennis Rumph he needed to win the tipoff and Rumph did. From there it was full-speed ahead for the Devils.
Andra Bailey stepped out and drilled a three-pointer then Keevis Tukes made a steal at the defensive end. Aaron Jackson took it to the hoop for two.
Jackson had a three-point play with 3:11 left in the five-minute overtime period to put ACCC up 79-71.
“Starting the overtime with Andra’s three then going up by eight was huge for us,” Hayes said. “The whole game we won the hustle plays.”
Cowley County finally scored in the overtime with 2:19 on the clock on two free throws by Dominick Cornelius. Allen County didn’t have another field goal in the game.
The Red Devils sealed the win at the free-throw line, hitting 10 of 16 in the final minute and a half. Plus the Red Devils played solid defense — “hustle plays.”
“Aaron ran down several loose balls. Then Gavin Cole made a tremendous play on the inbounds play by Cowley,” Hayes said.
“We had Gavin in back court just to put a little pressure on the ball but Cowley County decided to roll the ball on the court on the inbounds play. Gavin recognized it and went flying through the air like Superman and got to the basketball, knocking it out to Aaron.”
Allen County moved into sole possession of fourth place in the Jayhawk Eastern Division standings with the win over second-place Cowley County. The Red Devils are 7-3 in conference play and 12-9 overall as the Tiger fell to 9-3 and 15-9.
Coffeyville (10-1, 16-7) is atop the standings after surviving 67-66 against Fort Scott (0-11, 3-20) Wednesday night.
Allen County goes to Fort Scott Saturday.
“They just keep coming,” Hayes said.
Cowley County flew out to a 12-2 lead on Allen County Wednesday. Hayes said his team just wasn’t ready to play.
Rumph, who finished with 21 points and nine rebounds, had the first two baskets of the night for the Red Devils. Tukes nailed a three as ACCC began a 13-0 run.
Jackson tagged the net for two free throws followed by back-to-back threes by Erik Law and Tukes. Allen County led 15-13.
It became a back-and-forth game until Jackson scored at the 6:03 mark to put ACCC up 25-24. Rumph had a putback to expand the lead.
Law had a basket then Rumph hit two free throws for ACCC. A follow shot by Chris Lee made gave Allen County a seven-point lead. The Red Devils were up 33-28 at halftime.
Allen County maintained the lead through the early going in the second half. A tip-in by Lee made it 51-40 at the 12:26 mark.
“Cowley is very aggressive and keeps coming at you at both ends of the floor. We had talked about being aware and staying focused,” Hayes said.
The Tigers clawed and chipped away. They hit some key three-pointers in the final four minutes. Cornelius dripped a trey with 1:18 left to make it 68-67.
Rumph answered with a tip-in then Kelton Marshall scored for Cowley County with 28 seconds on the clock. Cowley County was out of timeouts and fouled Jackson.
Jackson hit one of two free throws to put ACCC up 71-69. Tukes picked up a foul at the 11.8-second mark and Allen County took its final timeout.
The Tigers tried to win the game on a three-pointer which was off but Fields got the long rebound and hit the tying basket at the buzzer.
“We really did win a lot of the game at the rim tonight. Dennis played well on the inside for us. It was a great game for our kids,” Hayes said.
“Those hustle plays made a big difference. Like Greg (Hayes) feeling bad about not hitting a shot but hustled back to get a tap-out on defense. We had a lot of that type of play tonight.”
Allen County shot 54 percent, 29 of 54, from the field which included going 7 of 16 from three-point range. The Red Devils also cashed in on 24 of 36 free throw attempts.
Jackson ended up with 21 points and three steals. Bailey had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Tukes scored 13 points.
Cowley County went 32 of 65, 49 percent, from the field and hit 8 of 25 three-point attempts. The Tigers downed 12 of 17 free throw tries.
Tyrus McGee fired in 25 points. Caprest Rhone and Cornelius each had 17 points.
Allen County (33-38-18 (OT)—89) (FG/3-pt): Rumph 8/1-2-2-21, Law 1/1-0-1-5, Bailey 3/1-7-2-16, Jackson 5/1-8-2-21, Tukes 1/2-5-2-13, Cole 2/1-2-3-9, Lee 2-0-2-4. TOTALS: 22/7-24-14-89.
Cowley County (28-43-13 (OT)—84) (FG/3-pt): Fields 4-0-5-8, Rhone 4/2-3-3-17, McGee 7/3-2-4-25, Cornelius 3/2-5-5-71, Copeland 2-2-0-6, Long 0-0-3-0, Rosa 1-0-4-2, Wakefield 0-0-1-0, Marshall 3/1-0-0-9. TOTALS: 24/8-12-25-84.
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