Wrangler Men rally in second half to beat Howard

Tony Vengas:OA
Tony Vengas:OA

Trailing by 11 points in the first half to Howard College, the Odessa College men's basketball team's 8-0 home record was in jeopardy.

The Wranglers fought back after making some key free throws and holding the Hawks scoreless in the final 2:30 of the second half to win, 58-55, Monday night during a WJCAC game at the OC Sports Center.

 "I thought we showed we had some guts. They had a really good game plan. They executed against all our zones," Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. "I thought they were better than us probably for 35 minutes.

"I thought we closed the game really well."

Howard College held a 14-6 lead after a 3-pointer by Jake Heese with 10:45 in the first half.

The Wranglers committed 10 turnovers in the first half which led to 15 easy points for the Hawks.

Mike Harden Jr. made a 3-pointer with 7:33 left to increase Howard College's lead to 10 points. Despite nailing four key shots from the beyond the arc, the Hawks shot 35 percent from the field in the first half.

Odessa College (22-5 overall, 11-2 WJCAC) struggled to make any shots from 3-point range as it had one in the first 20 minutes.

Jawaun Daniels then got a key basket with 1:38 left until halftime which cut the deficit down to six points for the Wranglers.

Jalen Hawkins was then fouled after making a shot in the paint. He later converted the free throw for a clutch 3-point play to get Odessa College behind by two points.

With 39 seconds to go, James Reese tied up the game with a basket.

The momentum then shifted back to Howard College to start the second half as it led 40-34 with 12:20 remaining after a basket by Eric Reed Jr.

Odessa College kicked it into third gear after a 3-pointer from Reese sparked a comeback with 2:43 to go.

After four lead changes, the shots began to fall for the Wranglers as it finished with 28 points in the paint after shooting 23 of 47 from the field.

Hawkins led the Wranglers with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists while Reese had 10 points, two steals and two assists.

Reed finished with 12 points for the Hawks (16-8, 8-6) with Garrick Green chipping in with 11 and Matt Johnson with 10.

The biggest key was free throws, and Odessa College finished 7 of 11 in the second half, 9 of 14 overall.

"I thought we played great defense down the stretch. I thought we made some key baskets," Baumann said. "I thought we showed why we're a good basketball team."