It’s not often a coach will call a 104-69 victory ‘frustrating,’ but Central Christian College men’s basketball coach Tony Romero did just that after the Tigers’ win over Barclay College Tuesday night.
“We’ve beaten some teams that we should have beaten,” Romero said, “but I don’t know how we’re beating them by as much as we have beaten them.”
The Tigers shot 46.9 percent from the field, but only 18.5 percent from three-point distance in the win over the Bears at the Ed Pyle Sports Complex, which marked the Tigers’ fifth straight game to open up the 2013-14 season.
It wasn’t so much the shooting that had Romero shaking his head as the fact that his squad couldn’t seem to put Barclay College away, as the Bears kept fighting up until the final buzzer, despite being down by as much as 41 points late in the second half.
It was symptomatic of the way CCC has played so far this season.
“We’ve had five games now with double digit leads,” Romero said. “[Barclay] didn’t come back on us, but the four games prior to that we’ve struggled to put teams away. Playing 40 minutes of basketball is what we’re struggling to do.”
The Tigers found themselves in something of a dog-fight to open the game, as the Bears kept themselves within arm’s reach through the six-minute mark of the first half, before a 5-0 run allowed Central Christian (5-0) to pull away.
Aaron Miller was the on-court general for the Tigers in the first half, as he scored 13 points, giving CCC a 47-34 advantage at the intermission.As a team, Central shot 41 percent from the floor, though Barclay (0-1) was just behind at 39.3 percent.
The Bears focused on taking Miller out of the equation in the second half, which allowed senior Scott Brooks to erupt offensively, as he scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the final half of play.
He was also just shy of the double-double with nine rebounds.
“He needed to get his confidence going,” Romero said. “He didn’t play much on Saturday [against Hillsdale Baptist], but he responded well today.”
Miller also just missed the double-double, as had 19 points on 7-for-15 shooting with nine assists.
As well as Brooks and Miller played, the Tigers found themselves pulling ahead, though the Bears stayed competitive throughout the half, despite a potential backbreaker with around eight minutes left to play in the game.
Junior Dustin Rojas launched himself into a steal of a Bears pass, finding himself in a breakaway for an easy layup. As Barclay attempted to cross the half-court line on the following possession, Rojas performed the exact same manuver with similar results. He would then get an easy jumper to complete a 6-0 min-run, all within 10 seconds.
Page 2 of 2 - Rojas finished the game with 14 points. Sophomore Nathan Fort picked up a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Kendric Warren added 11 points of his own.
The Tigers shot 79.3 percent from the foul line, as both teams had plenty of practice Tuesday night. Between the two teams, 51 fouls were called. Barclay sank 14-of-18 fouls shots for their time on the charity stripe.
The Tigers out-rebounded Barclay 59-34, though the turnover margin was just barely in CCC’s favor 17-19.
The Tigers have a tough test ahead of them on Thursday, as they will travel to Salina to face Kansas Wesleyan University. The Coyotes will be coming off an 83-63 loss to Baker University Tuesday night.
“We’ll find out what we’re made of now,” Romero said. “We watched KW a couple of time already on film and they’re much improved from last year. They’re not going to finish whatever it was they were predicted in the KCAC. I think they’re going to give some guys some problems.”
Tipoff Thursday is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Contact Chris Swick by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.