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Bobcats outlast the Warriors

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BELLEVUE – Midland University put on an impressive offensive performance Monday in the Bellevue Men’s Basketball Classic.

The College of the Ozarks, however, was just a little bit better.

The Bobcats downed the Warriors 105-95 to drop MU to 4-9 on the season. The College of the Ozarks improves to 6-7.

Midland coach Oliver Drake said the Warriors played well enough offensively to pull out the win. Ozarks, however, was 41 of 66 from the field (62 percent), including 12 of 24 of 3-point attempts.

“Offensively, we have nothing to be ashamed of. Our offensive numbers are kind of what we’ve been asking for,” he said. “Had you said we’d score 95 points on a good team, shoot 53% from the field and 53% from (3-point territory), I probably would have liked the result.”

The Bobcats started strong and led by as many as 14 points in the first half. Sophomore Bowen Sandquist kept the Warriors in the game by scoring 24 of his team-high 27 points in the opening 20 minutes.

The Bobcats led 49-36 with 2:32 left, but a Jake Rueschhoff basket and treys by Sandquist and Laurence Merritt cut the deficit to 51-44 at the break.

Midland cut the deficit to seven at 71-64 with 13:14 left in the game on an Emanuel Bryson free throw, but the Bobcats never let them get closer.

Merritt had 25 points and five assists while Rueschhoff finished with 19 points. Bryson added 18 points, five assists and seven rebounds.

“I thought this was Jake’s best game. He’s still getting comfortable, but we’re really excited about him. We think the sky is the limit with him, and he showed that tonight,” Drake said. “Manny was outstanding. He passed the ball early, and that loosed up the defense, and then he got downhill and scored layups. I’m really happy with both of those guys’ performances.”

Ayden Stone led Ozarks with 31 points on 13-for-16 shooting from the field while adding nine rebounds. Their usual go-to scorer, Brandt Cochran, finished with only seven points but had an impressive 16 assists.

Drake said that despite the loss, the Warriors are making progress.

“The growth tonight was that we put two halves of good offensive basketball together,” Drake said. “We just have to continue to hold ourselves accountable from a defensive and rebounding standpoint.”

The Warriors host the University of Jamestown at 8 Thursday night in a Great Plains Athletic Conference game.

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