Men's Basketball cruises past Western Texas 90-58

Tony Vengas:OA
Tony Vengas:OA

The Odessa College Wranglers didn't need a second-half comeback Monday.

For the first time in 2019, the Wranglers were in control almost from the start, cruising to a 90-58 victory over Western Texas College in WJCAC action at the OC Sports Center.

James Reese had 21 points and seven rebounds to lead a balanced attack for the Wranglers (15-3 overall, 4-0 WJCAC), who stayed a half-game back of South Plains College in the conference standings. Jonas Parker added 16 points and six rebounds, while Jawaun Daniels had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Tavon Jones chipped in 12 points off the bench.

Odessa College, which trailed at halftime last week in games against New Mexico Military Institute and Midland College, faced only a 2-0 deficit in the opening minutes against the Westerners (9-6, 1-3). The Wranglers responded by hitting six 3-pointers in building an 18-4 lead less than five minutes into the game.

"It's always good to play at home in this league and I thought we came out shooting the ball well, very confidently," Odessa College coach Kris Baumann said. "It's about time. We haven't shot the ball as well as we're capable of since we've been back from Christmas. I thought we did a really good job.

"It was nice to see Jonas make some shots. James has been great the entire year. I thought Jordan (Pierce) played good around the basket. I thought Dimon (Carrigan) played big around the basket. Jawaun Daniels did a lot of things hustle-wise, rebounding-wise, making the extra pass. I thought he did some good things, too."

The Wranglers hit 32 of 58 field-goal attempts (55.2 percent), going 8 of 17 from 3-point range in the first half. Odessa College finished 11 of 28 from beyond the arc, but actually shot better from the field (16 of 28, 57.1 percent) in the second half.

Daniels said getting out to a fast start was a big factor for the Wranglers.

"I felt like our sophomores did a good job coming out," he said. "We start five sophomores and we came out, I guess, with a chip on our shoulder. We came to play today. We let the whole league know that Odessa is here and we're trying to win the league."

Daniels added, "From a mental standpoint, it kind of eased the jitters a little bit. Coming in and playing Western Texas, they have a good team in the conference and you want to make a statement. It kind of calmed us down mentally and we had a solid, smooth pace throughout the game."

Western Texas was led by Carson Hammond with nine points and Jevon Brown with eight.

Odessa College also benefitted from a strong defensive and rebounding.

The Wranglers recorded 12 steals in forcing Western Texas into 20 turnovers, and finished with a 45-31 rebounding edge. Even in the final minutes with Odessa College leading by 30, Wrangler players were hustling for loose balls.

"The beauty of this team is I've got a lot of hungry guys," Baumann said. "I've got a lot of guys sitting down there that can't wait to play. It's always nice when you can put guys in the game and they're ready to go. I thought the guys were tonight."

"I thought they did a good job of sharing the ball with each other. I didn't think there was a lot of selfishness tonight. I thought we played like a good junior college team. It was fun to watch and fun to coach."