Late three-pointer misses, Bobcat MBB falls short 77-74

Staff Writer
Syracuse Journal-Democrat
Henry Tanksley goes up and over a CMU defender for two of his team-high 26 points.

It was a much-needed contest for both teams. On Saturday, the visiting Central Methodist (Mo.) (CMU) team got what they needed while handing the Bobcats a 77-74 defeat.

CMU needed the win to keep their chances alive for a post-season tournament berth. Had the Bobcats won, they would have moved into third place alone in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart).

Central Methodist improved to 10-16 overall and 9-11 in the Heart. The Bobcats fell to 14-12 on the season and are now 13-7 in conference action.

Both teams have four regular-season contests remaining.

First Half Action

There were seven ties and 14 lead changes in the first half with the largest lead being six.

The Eagles took the early lead with a pair of free throws. With 19:08 on the clock, Devon Colley (Las Vegas) got the 'Cats on the board with a trey. The teams would trade buckets with the game tied for the first time at 7.

The contest would then be tied at 9, 14 and 16, before Henry Tanksley (Lincoln) hit a trey off an assist from Colley with 11:25 left in the first half.

Central Methodist would go on an 8-2 run to take their largest lead of the first half at 25-21 with 7:28 to go in the first 20 minutes.

Back-to-back buckets by Kendrick Robinson (Chicago) tied the game at 25. After the Eagles regained the lead, Tanksley knotted the game with a bucket. Tanksley would then make back-to-back three-pointers with the first coming off an assist from Colley to put the Bobcats on top 33-27 – Peru State's largest lead in the first half.

The Eagles would eventually tie it at 37 and then moved ahead by one. Noah Vasa (Nebraska City) would give the 'Cats the lead off an assist from Deonte McReynolds (Chicago) with 1:21 left in the half. CMU would finish the half with an old-fashioned three-point play to take a 40-38 into the locker rooms.

Second Half Action

Nick Brannon (Las Vegas) started the second half with a bucket off an assist from Tanksley to tie the game up at 40. After the Eagles hit a trey, Isaac Simpson (Papillion) completed an old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game for what would be the last time at 43 apiece with 18:44 left on the clock.

Central Methodist would methodically work its way out to a ten-point lead at 66-56 with just under ten minutes to go in the contest.

With 5:47 to go, Colley made a pair of free throws and the 'Cats were back within three at 68-65.

CMU would stretch the lead back to seven at 77-70 which came on a play that was reviewed by the officials who reversed a charge call with 1:37 to go. The Bobcats continued to fight as Robinson made a pair of free throws and then Peru State grabbed a rebound with 59 seconds left. With 51 seconds left Colley hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to three at 77-74.

The Eagles would miss a long shot after a time out giving the 'Cats a chance to tie it up. However, the three-point attempt missed and the Eagles grabbed the rebound for the win.

Team Statistics

The teams had similar shooting percentages in the contest. CMU hit 28 of 67 field goals for 41.8% which included making 11 of 29 from behind the arc for 37.9%. At the free throw line, the Eagles went 10 of 15 for 66.7%. Peru State hit 26 of 60 from the floor for 43.3% and connected on 9 of 26 from long range for 34.6%. At the free throw line, the 'Cats only missed one of 14 tries to hit a season high of 92.9%.

The Eagles had a slight rebounding edge as they grabbed 38 boards compared to 32 for the 'Cats. Both teams dished out 15 assists.

Peru State had one less turnover than CMU as they finished with ten. Central Methodist blocked four shots while the Bobcats had two blocks. Both teams were credited with five steals.

Peru Individual Statistics

The Bobcats once again had a pretty-balanced scoring attack as they had five guys finish in double figures. Tanksley led the way with 26 points while Colley and Vasa each added 12. Robinson and Brannon finished with 11 and ten respectively.

Brannon grabbed eight boards to lead the team while Robinson and Tanksley each had six boards.

Colley dished out five assists with Robinson handing out four.

Brannon and Vasa were each credited with one block.

Simpson, Colley, Tanksley, Brannon, and McReynolds each had one steal.

Upcoming Games

Peru State will be on the road for a pair of games this week and then will be home for a couple of games to end the regular season.

While all games are important, Wednesday night's game with Benedictine in Atchison, Kansas, could be key to both team's seeding in the post-season. Presently, the teams are tied with 13-7 records in conference play which puts them in third behind William Penn (Iowa) and Clarke (Iowa). Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Then, on Saturday, the 'Cats head to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to take on Mount Mercy at 4 p.m. The Mustangs still have an outside shot of making the tournament as they are 13-13 overall and 8-12 in conference play.

The Bobcats will face Graceland (Iowa) and William Penn (Iowa) respectively on February 26 and 29 at home to close the regular season. On the 29th, the Bobcat seniors will be recognized.