Kokomo, IN – Last night, the Trailblazers trekked over to Indiana University Kokomo for a game against the team with the third best record in the River States Conference sitting at 5-1, so their work was cut out for them before they even stepped foot into the Kokomo Student Activities and Events Center. Ohio Christian came in with a 1-3 record in the RSC.
The first half started out about even as the teams traded blows back and forth until roughly halfway into the period when the Cougars took off with an 18-4 run that left the Trailblazers with a tall ladder to climb. The period ended with a score of 30-44 as IU-Kokomo seemed to be running away with it. At the half, the Blazers were led in points by Ben Casey with nine while Justin Barksdale recorded just four points, but compensated by ripping down five defensive boards. Ohio Christian shot at a 46.4% clip in 13 of 28 shooting while Kokomo made just six more shots hitting 19 of 35 at 54.3%.
It seemed that Coach Coons and his team loved to endure the slow burn of a comeback as it took OCU roughly 18 minutes to climb back into the race, but climb back they did. With one minute and 38 seconds left in the ball game, the Blazers trailed just two points. It was a late back and forth battle in the last minute as William Morrison hit a 3pt shot with 1:38, followed by a good 3pt shot just 30 seconds afterwards. Barksdale got a layup with 50 seconds remaining and then DeSean Hampton of Kokomo put the Cougars up five to end the game at 73-78.
This loss puts Ohio Christian at a 2-11 overall record. With his second half surge, Jimmy Salamone comes out being the team's leading scorer with 15 points with four other Trailblazers in double digits as well including Ben Casey, Devon Miller, and Justin Barksdale. Barksdale ended the game with a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, three of which coming on the offensive side of the court.
The Trailblazers have picked up an exhibition with Division 1 opponent Oakland University up in Rochester, Michigan. This game will take place in their Athletics Center O'rena on Friday, December 7th. Tip-off will be at 7pm EST broadcasted on ESPN+ with live audio and stats provided by the Golden Grizzly crew.
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