UCO Men’s Basketball: Bronchos’ Season Ends After Loss to Central Missouri

UCO Men’s Basketball: Bronchos’ Season Ends After Loss to Central Missouri

The UCO men's basketball team ended Thursday after falling to Central Missouri in the MIAA tournament.

Senior Xavier Howard tries to get other UCO players support in making it to the basket at the UCO vs Emporia State Men’s Basketball Playoffs game at the Hamilton Field House on Feb. 27, 2017. (Elizabeth Roberts/ The Vista). 

The UCO Men’s Basketball team’s season ended Thursday afternoon after losing to the Central Missouri Mules 59-54 in the MIAA quarterfinals.

The Bronchos were led by senior forward Corbin Byford who had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Josh Holliday was the second leading scorer for UCO, pitching in 13 points on 5-5 shooting from the foul line.

UCO turned the ball over 20 times; with Central Missouri racking up 14 steals in the game.

In a tightly contested MIAA matchup with both teams failing to hit their shots, the difference resided at the free throw line.

UCO got to the line 20 times, but only converted 13 free throws. Central Missouri on the other hand made 17 of their 24 free throw attempts, in a game that would only be decided by five points.

UCO had difficulties shooting the ball throughout the game. The Bronchos shot 36 percent from the field and 20 percent from three-point territory in UCO’s final game of the season.

As a team, the Bronchos combined for 10 turnovers in the first half of play, with every player committing at least one except for center Jake Hammond.

Despite the offensive lapses, UCO led Central Missouri 28-27 heading into halftime behind the Bronchos smothering defense.

UCO held Central Missouri to 36 percent shooting in the first half and also forced nine turnovers. The Bronchos also outrebounded the Mules 24-14 in the half.

Coming out of halftime UCO was hoping to rid their offensive struggles from the first half, but what they got was much of the same.

In the second half UCO was 8-22 from the field and shot only 12 percent from three-point range.

Josh Holliday and Corbin Byford combined for 20 of the Bronchos 26 points in the second half, but they couldn’t help UCO overcome Central Missouri. The Mules shot 40 percent from downtown in the second half to go along with 10-13 shooting at the free throw line.

Even with all of their offensive struggles, UCO still had a chance to tie Central Missouri at the end of the game. With 13 seconds left Holliday drove and took an off-balanced layup, but he couldn’t get the basket to fall.

The Bronchos beat Emporia State Monday to advance to the quarterfinals of the MIAA tournament before falling to Central Missouri.

UCO ends the season at 17-12, improving upon last year’s record of 16-14.

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