The North Central Missouri College men stayed within striking distance of unbeaten Ellsworth CC on Tuesday night, before striking and ripping the lead away from the visiting Panthers in a dramatic 85-80 victory at the Ketcham Community Center. The contest, the Pirates seventh of the season, improves NCMC to 5-2, while saddling ECC with its first loss of the season.
The Panthers (5-1) led 43-36 at the half, with Ellsworth controlling play from the three point arc, hitting eight three-point shots to the Pirates two. The lead in the second half ballooned to as high as 14 points, with North Central struggling to slow down Ellsworth’s perimeter shooting and offensive rebounding prowess.
The Pirates showed improved defense over the final 10 minutes, particularly in the areas of interior defense and creating half-court steals to scramble up Ellsworth, as the crowd began to become very involved in the contest.
Here is KGOZ Sports Director Tom Johnson in postgame with NCMC coach Jeremy Esry:
Isaiah Reams (Mexico, MO) led North Central from the point guard position, scoring 22 points. Giovanni Mack (Belton, MO) had 19 points and Tyler King 17 points. For Ellsworth, Jaron Crews had 30 points, Arlandus Keyes 20 and Jordan Glenn-Hawkins 11.
Here is the call of the final seconds of the win:
The Pirates entered the game “receiving votes” in the NJCAA Division Two national poll, released on Monday, along with 15 other schools, including a KCK team that the Pirates beat on Saturday night at Hy-Vee Arena. Unofficially, the Pirates are ranked 31st. Milwaukee Area Technical College (5-0) is ranked first, with North Central’s Friday night opponent, Des Moines Area Community College (5-0) ranked #3. North Central’s men will play a pair of games this weekend, including a Saturday contest against Spoon River College (2 PM) as part of the DMACC Classic in Boone, Iowa. Friday night’s game with the DMACC Bears tips at 7 o’clock.
Photo credit – North Central Missouri College Athletics / NCMCPirates.com / Trenton, MO