A Win is a Win is a Win

Photo courtesy SOUTHWESTERN COLLEGE

Southwestern College senior guard Cooper Pierce, a former Arkansas City High School standout, came off the bench Tuesday night to share game-high honors with 17 points in the Moundbuilders’ 78-67 victory against Tabor in Stewart Field House. Pierce was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds.

The Southwestern College men’s basketball team found a way to win Tuesday night despite the worst shooting performance of the season.

The Moundbuilders shot just 35% from the field, but were able to hold off Tabor with a strong second half Tuesday night, 78-67 in KCAC action in Stewart Field House for their eighth straight victory to start the season.

Southwestern was an anemic 29% shooting (12 of 41) in the first half, but trailed by just one, 34-33, at the break. Part of that was a result of just two turnovers committed in the half, along with seven rebounds by Andrew O’Brien.

The Builders (8-0, 2-0 KCAC) didn’t take long to turn it up after halftime.

Back-to-back jumpers by O’Brien boosted the lead to five, 39-34, and a Cevin Clark 3-pointer gave Southwestern a six-point lead, 42-36, at the 18-minute mark of the half.

Bruno Araujo cut the deficit in half for the Bluejays (2-4, 0-3) with a trey on the other end, but Southwestern held Tabor at bay, building several seven-point leads.

Tabor’s Demarik Brown made it a three-point game again with a jumper with 12:16 to play. Then the teams went 3:26 without scoring a point until Lonnie Langston’s layup pulled the Bluejays to within one, 50-49, with 8:50 remaining.

The Builders kept the advantage with a dunk by O’Brien. Zhahidi Robinson’s layup, along with a pair of free throws by Clark boosted the lead to seven again, 56-49, with 6:36 left.

Southwestern’s lead finally reached eight on a put-back by Cooper Pierce, giving the Builders the lead with just more than five minutes left.

The Builders then pulled away at the foul line before Pierce buried a back-breaking 3-pointer to build the lead to 13, 69-56, with 2:07 left.

Another trey by the former ACHS standout with nine seconds remaining gave Southwestern its biggest lead of the game at nine.

The Builders shot 42% from the floor in the second half while holding Tabor to 37%.

Robinson finished with 17 points and eight assists, hitting 6 of 15 from the floor. Pierce added 17 points and nine rebounds off the bench, connecting on 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. Clark’s 14 points, and O’Brien’s 11-point, 12-rebound performance gave Southwestern four players in double-figure scoring. Clark was 8 of 10 from the line.

Leon Marcikic scored 13 points off the bench, and Nashom Carter added 11 points from the bench to lead the Bluejays.

The Builders play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Saint Mary. The Spires (3-5, 0-3) fell to Ottawa 84-57 on Tuesday.

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