With the score tied 66-66 with 6:50 remaining in Saturday's contest at W.S. Scott Auditorium, the Independence Pirates out-scored the Cowley College men's basketball team 18-1 to close out an 84-67 road win.
The Tigers trailed by as many as 15 points (38-23) in the first half and by as many as 11 (55-44) in the second half before tying the game at 66-66 on a basket by Mike Smith.
"We really battled to get back in the game and had chances to build a lead, but missed free throws and some easy baskets," Cowley head coach Tommy DeSalme said.
After making 12-of-14 free-throw attempts in the first half, Cowley made just 5-of-18 shots from the foul line over the game's final 20 minutes of play.
Independence out-shot Cowley 47.3 percent to 37.9 percent from the floor and was led by Tarik Phillip's 21 points and five rebounds. Phillips was one of four Pirates in double figures as Independence improved to 13-10 overall and 4-1 in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division.
The Tigers are now 12-10 overall and 2-3 in the Jayhawk East. Cowley is in a three-way tie for fourth place in the conference.
Earl Bryant led Cowley with 25 points in the defeat, while Smith added 14 points and four rebounds. Freshman forward Jade McLendon recorded his fifth straight double-digit rebound game as he finished with seven points and 11 rebounds.
Quay King, the Tigers' leading scorer on the season, was held to just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting from the floor. After going 9-of-16 from three-point range in a win over the Friends University JV on Jan. 10, King is shooting just 30 percent (32-of-104) from the floor over the past seven games.
Cowley will look to snap its two-game home skid when they host Labette Monday night at 7:30 p.m. Labette is just 11-12 overall and 1-4 in the Jayhawk East, but all four conference defeats have been by four points or less.
Stedman Allen, a 6'6" sophomore from the Bronx, New York, leads Labette with an average of 20.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
After opening the season with eight straight home wins, the Tigers will attempt to start a new winning streak.
"We have got to get better quickly because we have got another tough game coming up against Labette," DeSalme said. "We need to figure out a way to win a game at home in conference play."
Box score: Independence (84): J.R. Owens 5-9 4-6 16, Chris Ikuenobe 1-2 0-0 2, Jerry Melton 6-13 1-2 15, Jimmie Duplessis 1-4 2-2 4, Tarik Phillip 4-9 13-16 21, Vincent Jackson 3-3 1-1 7, Branden Roark 5-10 7-9 17, James Jappa 1-2 0-0 2, Nadir Alston 0-2 0-1 0, Jajuan Taylor 0-1 0-2 0, Carlos Covington 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-55 28-39 84.
Cowley (67): Mike Smith 5-10 2-2 14, Earl Bryant 7-14 8-16 25, Quay King 2-7 2-4 7, Jade McLendon 3-7 1-2 7, Don Leak 1-4 1-2 3, Kazmere Boyd 1-4 1-2 3, Gabe Lynch 1-2 0-2 2, Kaleb Ratliff 0-1 0-0 0, Austin Maxwell 2-5 2-2 6, Keion Alexander 0-1 0-0 0, Adrian Goodlow 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 22-58 17-32 67.
Gronas, Tinnin help Cowley slip past Independence 70-64
Emilie Gronas and Jessica Tinnin combined to score 29 of the Cowley College women's basketball team's 36 second half points as the Lady Tigers made just enough plays to hold off Independence by a score of 70-64 Saturday night at W.S. Scott Auditorium.
Gronas, who's only basket of the first half came on a running three-pointer at the halftime buzzer, poured in 16 second half points. With the score tied 60-60, Gronas buried back-to-back three-pointers, sandwiched around a basket by Independence's Sabrina Berry, to give the Lady Tigers a 66-62 lead with less than two minutes remaining. Gronas would add a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to help seal the win.
"She hit a couple of really big shots that gave us a little breathing room," Cowley head coach Todd Clark said.
Gronas went 5-of-9 from three-point range and leads the Jayhawk Conference with her 46.4 percent shooting from long distance. With her 718 career points, Gronas moves into 19th place on the all-time scoring list at Cowley College, surpassing Paloma Moriana (709 points) and Breanna Bryant (711 points).
Coming off a near triple-double in Wednesday's victory over Neosho County, Tinnin again provided a spark off the bench. The freshman point guard from Asheboro, N.C., went 8-of-13 from the floor and scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the second half. Tinnin also came up with five steals and three rebounds.
"I thought Jessica in transition created some difficulties for them," Clark said. "She was able to get to the rim and finish."
Freshman forward Kristi Garza added 12 points and nine rebounds, while Kourtney Steele finished with five points, six rebounds and seven blocked shots. Steele has blocked 13 shots over the past two contests.
The victory was Cowley's fifth in a row and improves the Lady Tigers' record to 17-5 overall and 4-1 in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division.
Independence sophomore Sabrina Berry, who averages just under 21 points per game, scored 18 of her 20 points after halftime. Berry made 7-of-9 shots from the floor and went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
The Lady Pirates are now 11-8 overall and 1-4 in the conference.
Cowley will be back in action Monday night when they host Labette at 5:30 p.m. The Cardinals are 14-9 overall and 2-3 in the Jayhawk East. The game will be Cowley's third in six days.
"I hope we have the energy to get through it and come out with some bounce in our step," Clark said.