The Cowley College men’s basketball team went cold in the second half of Monday’s home game against Cloud County as they watched an 11-point halftime lead turn into a 78-75 defeat.

Cloud out-shot Cowley 59 percent to 30 percent in the second half and held the Tigers to 5-of-28 shooting from three-point range.

“When you shoot as poorly as we did, it makes it a grind,” Cowley head coach Tommy DeSalme said. “They packed it in defensively in the second half and forced us to make shots from outside. When you can’t make threes and free throws it makes it tough to win.”

The loss drops Cowley (17-10) into third place in the Jayhawk Conference Eastern Division with three conference games remaining. The victory for Cloud improves the Thunderbirds’ record to 13-14 overall and 7-10 in the conference.

The Tigers led Monday’s game by as many as 13 points in the first half and went into halftime with a 38-27 lead. However, Cloud out-scored Cowley 22-5 over the first seven and a half minutes of the second half to lead 49-43 following a basket by 6’8” freshman Edoardo Del Cadia.

The Tigers would trail by as many as nine points (65-56) before rallying to tie the game at 72-72 following a pair of free throws by sophomore Brenden Van Dyke with 46 seconds remaining. However, a three-point play by Del Cadia only nine seconds later regained the lead for the Thunderbirds.

With Cloud County leading 77-75, Cowley sent the Thunderbirds’ Alvin Thompson to the free-throw line with 8.7 seconds left. Thompson missed the first free throw, but made the second.

Trailing by three, Cowley’s Dylan Vincent raced the ball up court and threw up a wild, running three-pointer that was off the mark. However, Van Dyke grabbed the rebound and got off another three-point attempt from the corner that just missed as the final buzzer sounded.

Freshman Julius Nwosu was a bright spot in the defeat as he finished with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting and has now scored 20 or more points in three of the Tigers’ past four games.

“We have got to get Julius more shots,” DeSalme said.

Darius Harrison and Deng Bol added 13 and 12 points, respectively, but combined to make only 11-of-30 shots from the floor.

Freshman point guard DJ Sims went 4-of-7 from three-point range and led Cloud County with 21 points, while Del Cadia added 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Cowley will look to win its fifth straight road game when they play at Allen Community College Saturday at 4 p.m. The Red Devils are currently 13-12 overall and in last place in the Jayhawk East with a record of 5-11.

“We have got to get a little rest, regroup and give ourselves a chance to win,” DeSalme said. “We will hope to use this time to get better.”

Box score:

Cloud (78): Jerome Kidd Jr. 4-8 2-2 10, Jacob Shields 0-1 0-0 0, DJ Sims 6-13 5-7 21, Adetomi Ayilara 4-5 0-0 10, Alvin Thompson 2-9 2-4 6, Gabe Pieschl 5-9 0-0 10, Eduardo Del Cadia 7-15 4-5 19, Iyen Enaruna 1-5 0-1 2. Totals: 29-65 13-19 78.

Cowley (75): Deng Bol 6-14 0-2 12, Dylan Vincent 3-15 0-1 7, Julius Nwosu 8-16 3-5 21, Brenden Van Dyke 2-5 5-7 9, Darius Harrison 5-16 2-4 13, Davonte Pack 0-5 2-2 2, Marquan Shakur 3-3 2-2 9, Karl Drammeh 0-1 2-2 2, JayLenn Corbett 0-1 0-0 0, Malik Coats 0-0 0-0 0, Trey Twa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-76 16-25 75.

Three-pointers: Cloud 7-19 (Sims 4-7, Ayilara 2-3, Del Cadia 1-4, Kidd Jr. 0-2, Pieschl 0-2), Cowley 5-28 (Nwosu 2-5, Vincent 1-7, Harrison 1-3, Shakur 1-1, Bol 0-7, Pack 0-4, Van Dyke 0-1). Rebounds: Cloud 48 (Del Cadia 15), Cowley 45 (Harrison 8). Assists: Cloud 8 (Thompson 3), Cowley 11 (Vincent 6). Turnovers: Cloud 18, Cowley 10. Total fouls: Cloud 22, Cowley 18. Fouled out: Ayilara. Technicals: none.