By Nick Hampton
WARNER – After a lackadaisical first half, the Connors State Cowboys kicked it up a notch and entertained the “old timers” with a 101-68 win over Arkansas Baptist College in OCAC action at the Melvin Self Field House Saturday afternoon.
The Cowboys welcomed back 24 former players and coaches from as far back as the 1940s for the matinee, and they were not disappointed as guard Josh Cameron scored a season-high 29 points to propel Connors to the victory.
“We stumbled around a little bit in the first half but I thought we played overall pretty well in the second half,” said Cowboys’ coach Bill Muse. “It was a physical game and got a little bit out of control, but I think our guys really guarded and played more team ball in the second half.”
Connors (20-5) scored the first eight points of the game, but the Buffaloes battled back to eventually tie the game at 14-14. The game was tied four times and the lead changed hands five times with Arkansas Baptist holding their final lead of the game at 29-28 with six minutes to play in the half. The Cowboys then outscored the Buffs 15-10 over that final stretch to lead at intermission 42-38.
Arkansas Baptist held tough throughout the opening portion of the second half, trailing by just six points 61-55 with 13 minutes to play. But Connors then went on a 26-4 run over the next seven minutes to open up an 87-59 lead and put the game away.
It was a very physical game that saw a total of 45 personal and four technical fouls whistled. The Cowboys were the beneficiaries of the Buffaloes aggressiveness as they converted 20-of-29 free throws in the second half.
Cameron, a sophomore from Racine, Wisc., gave a lot of the credit for his performance to his teammates.
‘It was hard work today with all the physical play, but my teammates kept finding me in transition and I got a lot of easy baskets.”
Cameron got plenty of offensive help from Devante Moore who had 16 points and Dennell Henderson and Willie Atwood who had 14 points each. Hakeem Harris just missed a double-double for the Cowboys with nine points and 11 rebounds, but drew praise from Muse.
“He needs to do that more often,” Muse said. “He’s a big body that can get rebounds for us and if he’ll just run the team and defend and rebound for us. We’re going to be a better team because of it.”
Arkansas Baptist (8-17) was led in scoring by Joshua Tarver with 12 points. Brian Tardy was the only other Buffalo in double figures with 11.
Connors returns to action at home Monday night as they entertain Seminole State with the women’s game at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m.