Cold-shooting second half dooms Broncobusters in home loss to Cowley
Garden City, KS-Facing two of the top defensive teams in the league in back-to-back games was a scary proposition to begin with. And on Wednesday, when they needed it the most, the shots just didn't fall.
Arzhonte Dallas scored 18 points and hit two momentum-shifting 3-pointers down the stretch, Jeff Nwankwo poured in 18 in 35 minutes, and the Tigers beat the Broncbusters, 74-66 at Conestoga Arena.
"We just choked in the second half," Elmore said afterwards. "We had dumb turnovers, and that's why Cowley is in the position that they are in."
Thomas Tut finished with 19 points and 16 rebounds for Garden City, which dropped to 15-8 overall and 11-6 in the Jayhawk. But Cowley put the clamps on Elmore's two-star guards as Brody Robinson and Braxton Jones shot 6-of-29 combined from the field.
"I think we completely lost our minds in the second half," Elmore added. "And truth be told, that's why we can't win big games."
As a team, it was the second-worst shooting performance of the season for Garden City (32.8 percent). They were 5-of-30 from 3.
Meantime Cowley, which bounced back from Saturday's five-point home loss to red-hot Barton, turned a five-point halftime deficit into an eight-point victory, outscoring the Broncbusters, 45-32 over the final 20 minutes. They shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and 5-of-12 from 3.
"We did not have a good showing in the second half," Elmore admitted. "That's our problem right now."
Clinging to a two-point lead nine minutes into the final period, Elmore could only watch as Nwankwo beat two defenders to the rim for a layup. Moments later, after Chukwu made 1-of-2 free throws to put Garden City back up by one, Nwankwo again got to the rim, this time taking a Marcus Zeigler pass and flushing it home with two hands, putting the Tigers up, 51-50 with 8:57 to go. Damare Smith added a pair of 3-pointers, Dallas hit nothing but net from 26 feet out, and Cowley was up seven with 5:36 remaining.
The Broncbusters pulled within three with less than five minutes to play, but Dallas hit another triple, this time from the right corner, Corey Thomas turned a missed Jordan Frazier 3-pointer into a layup on the other end, and the Tigers had a 71-62 advantage.
Garden City never got any closer than five the rest of the way.
Chukwu, who entered play second in the Jayhawk in blocks, finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocks for the Broncbusters, which dictated tempo for much of the first half, building a seven-point lead after Robinson drained two free throws to make it 34-27 with 35 seconds remaining. Garden City was up by five at the intermission.
Robinson had 13 points and 10 assists in 36 minutes. Frazier chipped in 11 points.
Smith finished with 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting for Cowley, which improved to 20-3 overall and 15-2 in league play.