ARTICLE BY LEE SCHEIDE: ODESSA AMERICAN
The Odessa College men's basketball team took a comfortable lead into the halftime break against Frank Phillips College in the Western Junior College Conference opener Wednesday at the OC Sports Center.
The Plainsmen, however, began making things very uncomfortable in the first five minutes of the second half, cutting the double-digit deficit to single digits and forcing Wranglers coach Kris Baumann to call a timeout.
Baumann made mass substitutions after the quick break and just like that, the Plainsmen's chances of a comeback disappeared.
Odessa College's Victor Rosario came in a high three consecutive 3-pointers to push the lead back to double digits and the Wranglers never looked back en route to a 99-62 victory.
Rosario scored a game-high 18 points, all on 3-pointers, to lead five Wranglers in double figures, followed by Tauriawn Knight's 17 pints and game-high five assists.
Odessa College improved to 8-6 overall, 1-0 in conference, while Frank Phillips now is 9-4, 0-1.
"Victor can shoot the ball well and he came in and hit some big shots tonight," Baumann said. "I didn't like the way we started the second half; I told them during halftime that the first five minutes of the second half were going to be key and we didn't come out strong.
"But Victor hit those shots and it kind of flowed through the rest of the team from there. We don't want to have to rely on the outside shot all the time, but it worked tonight."
The Wranglers connected on 17-of-27 3-pointers, nearly 50 percent of their total field goals (35) on the night. Frank Phillips was able to connect on just 3-of-14 3-point attempts.
The first half was back-and-forth through the first 11 minutes, with Odessa College's Alphousseyni Diehiou grabbing an offensive rebound and laying the ball back in to tie the score, 18-18.
That started a 30-13 run by the Wranglers, which was fueled by seven 3-pointers, including six consecutive field goals made from beyond the arc.
Ward had three of the treys in the run, with Rosario hitting a pair as Odessa College blew the game open for a 46-31 lead after 20 minutes.
Next up for the Wranglers is New Mexico JC on Saturday in Hobbs, N.M. From there it's break time until after Christmas as they prepare to resume WJCAC play at Midland College on Jan. 9, 2019.
"We have a really tough game coming up Saturday," Baumann said of the trip to NMJC. "That's always a tough place to play; we lost two games in conference last year and one of them was at their place.
"But I felt like we played better tonight, we shared the ball a lot better and took good shots."
Carl Cambpell had 12 points to lead Frank Phillips, with Quentin Nnagbo adding 11 in the loss.