A long cold-shooting streak late in the second half was too much for the Hesston College men’s basketball team to overcome in a 81-73 loss to North Central (Mo.) College Friday night in the Pizza Hut-Hesston College Classic at Yost Center.


A long cold-shooting streak late in the second half was too much for the Hesston College men’s basketball team to overcome in a 81-73 loss to North Central (Mo.) College Friday night in the Pizza Hut-Hesston College Classic at Yost Center.

Tied 57-57 with 7:28 left in the game, Hesston was outscored 14-6 in a 5:31 span.

“The bottom line is we went 4 1/2 minutes and didn’t score, and I wouldn’t take it back,” Hesston coach Dustin Galyon said. “We got the shots we wanted from the guys we wanted. They just didn’t go in. I’m proud of our guys. We executed better than we have been. We’re finally healthy. This is the first night since we played Johnson County, the No. 12 team (National Junior College Athletic Association Division II poll) in the country, to four points, that we’ve held everybody back. We had to get some rebounds down the stretch. North Central is a good team and well coached. We went down there and lost a tough one. They came down here, and we lost another tough one.”

Martin Roper led North Central, 5-5, with 30 points and eight rebounds. Roper hit 14 of 19 from the field. Bryon Bundy added 18 points with nine rebounds.

Hesston, 5-7, was led by Kevin Blackmon with 19 points, hitting nine of 13 from the field. Joey Atkinson added 17 points. Kirl Williams scored 11. Rickey Vick II scored 10 points. Raphael Todd had 10 rebounds and nine assists.

“I am excited with Kirl Williams back,” Galyon said. “I’m excited with all of our guys back. We’ve got to get after it tomorrow. We have to find ways to turn the corner and hit buckets down the stretch.”

Neither team held much of a lead in the first half. There were nine lead changes in the first half. A Steven Johnson slam off a turnover late in the half gave North Central a five-point lead. Hesston answered with a Carlton Dean trey at the buzzer to get back within two, 37-35.

The North Central lead swung between three to five points for about the first six minutes of the second half. Blackmon hit a layup with 13:08 left in regulation to put the Larks up 49-48. After a near two-minute scoring drought, Dustin Wright hit a trey.

Hesston couldn’t get its lead bigger than four points. North Central regained the lead, 57-55, on a short jumper with nine minutes to play.

Cold shooting and turnovers allowed North Central to take a 65-57 advantage with 5:26 left in regulation. North Central extended it to 10 on a Roper putback with 3:40 to play.

Atkinson hit a three-point play with 1:18 to play. Blackmon stole the inbounds and scored a layup to get the Larks within four.

Hesston got a turnover with 58 seconds left in regulation, but turned it back over on a five-second inbounds violation. Justin Calvert hit two free throws with 56.4 seconds left to put North Central back up by four. The Pirates pulled away from the line.

Hesston hosts the Bethel College junior varsity at 8 p.m. tonight to end the classic.

“We’ve played several JVs. When we’re healthy, we’ve looked pretty good,” Galyon said. “They are scrappy. They’re well coached. They have some kids who can do things. We’re going to have to come ready to play.”

NORTH CENTRAL (5-5) — Jones 4-12 1-2 9, Eighmey 1-3 0-0 2, Roper 14-19 2-2 30, Bundy 7-19 2-3 18, Bottcher 0-0 2-2 2, Johnson 3-7 2-4 9, Calvert 1-6 7-7 9, Millentree 0-0 0-0 0, Beasley 1-2 0-0 2, TOTALS 31-68 16-20 81.

HESSTON (5-7) — Blackmon 9-13 0-0 19, Dean 3-10 0-0 7, Atkinson 8-19 1-1 17, Todd 3-5 0-1 6, Porter 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 5-17 1-2 11, Vick 3-8 3-4 10, Wright 1-1 0-0 3, Unruh 0-1 0-0 0, TOTALS 32-76 5-8 73.

No.Cent. 37 44 —81

Hesston 35 38 —73

Total fouls — NC 13, HC 16. 3-point shooting — NC 3-13 (Jones 0-4, Bundy 2-8, Johnson 1-1), HC 4-8 (Blackmon 1-1, Dean 1-2, Todd 0-1, Williams 0-1, Vick 1-2, Wright 1-1). Rebounds — NC 39 (Bundy 9), HC 35 (Todd 10). Assists — NC 18 (Jones 6), HC 17 (Todd 9). Turnovers — NC 15 (Jones 5), HC 11 (Dean 4). Blocked shots — NC 1 (Calvert 1), HC 5 (Atkinson 2, Porter 2). Steals — NC 8 (Johnson 4), HC 7 (Todd 3)