Wrangler Men pull away from North Lake College

Photo by:Odessa American
Photo by:Odessa American

One half can make all the difference and that was the case on Saturday for Odessa College.

Thanks to a 17-2 run out of the locker room to start the second half, the Wranglers turned a close game into a blowout, defeating North Lake College 81-47 at the Chaparral Center as part of the Chap Shootout.

"We just weren't playing how I expected them to play," Odessa College coach Kris Baumann said. "North Lake played well in the first half, but we were able to get it going and play well in the second half."

Odessa College got a big spark offensively in the second half from guard James Reese, who scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the final 20 minutes.

Anthony Johnson and Adrean Johnson each finished in double figures with 10 points to help provide some inside presence for the Wranglers.

Both players also nearly came close to double-doubles, finishing with nine and eight rebounds, respectively.

Brady Boyd led North College in scoring with 12 points on the afternoon.

" I thought James played two great games this weekend," Baumann said of his leading scorer. "I was really happy with his effort and his leadership."

As strong as the second half start was for the Wranglers, the first half proved to be a sloppy affair on both sides.

Odessa College got off to a good start, taking a 12-6 lead before North Lake College called their first timeout.

The Blazers were able to cut the deficit down to four points with 7:40 left in the half, but foul trouble became an issue for both teams.

Jordan Pierce and Zach Morgan were both called for three fouls in the first half for Odessa College, while Seyi Imade found himself on the bench with three fouls for the Blazers.

The pace of play slowed significantly as the half ended with a combined 32 attempted free throws and 25 personal fouls. Despite that, the Wranglers found themselves with a 30-24 advantage after 20 minutes.

" I think we were a little bit hung over from (Friday) night's game against a good Ranger College team," Baumann said. "Since we had to play the first game of the day, it took us a while for us to get going."

The second half proved to be a sizable shift, thanks to the defensive pressure applied by the Wranglers.

Reese and Jonas Parker accounted for 15 of the 17 points to start the half and the Wranglers turned their defense into offense by forcing North Lake to 27 turnovers on the afternoon.

" We came out with a lot more energy in the second half," Reese said. "I thought A.J. (Adrean Johnson) played a big part of just bringing the intensity up for everyone."

Odessa College ended up shooting 69.2 percent from the field in the second half to turn a tight battle into a comfortable victory, which included outscoring North Lake 36-4 inside the paint.

After splitting two games in Midland this weekend, the Wranglers will travel to Tucson, Ariz., to play in the Aztec Classic at Pima Community College starting on Nov. 15.

" We just have to keep getting better," Baumann said of his team moving forward. "We still have a lot of room for improvement and the biggest thing is to keep getting better for conference play."