LIBERAL, Kan – The Seward County men's basketball team came away with their first Jayhawk Conference victory of the year in a dominating defensive performance over Cloud County, defeating the T-Birds in Concordia, 56-39.
It was a slow first half for both sides, as the two teams combined for just 16 points through the first ten minutes of action. Defense was the driving force behind the Saints lead in the first half, holding the Thunderbirds to just 14.8% from the floor while forcing 12 turnovers.
While the Saints shot 34.6% from floor in the first half, a 10-3 run late in the half was the difference maker between the two teams. Jordan Mitchell started the run with a layup before ending it five minutes later with a three-pointer, as he led the Saints with six points at the midway mark of the game.
Despite leading 24-13 at halftime, Seward made just 2 of their 11 attempts from behind the arc. However, the Saints outrebounded the Thunderbirds 27-18, not allowing Cloud to pick up second chance points on their misses.
Seward also dominated the paint in the first half, with 14 of their 24 points coming from inside, while holding Cloud to just six points in the paint.
The Saints opened the second half going on a 7-2 run over the first five minutes. Jamel Horton came out of the locker room and immediately hit a three-point play after being fouled on a layup.
The lead got pushed to 17, as Karel Trunucek hit a deep jump shot off a pick-and-pop from Horton to make the score 35-18 with 13:54 to play. Another three-point play by Mitchell put the Saints up by 20 just before the media timeout.
Coming out of the media timeout, the T-Birds went on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 14 points before Hegel Augustin ended the run with a free throw. Leading 47-32 with four minutes left to play, the Saints slowed down their tempo to ride out the victory.
The 39 points is the least amount allowed by Seward since the first round of the Region VI Tournament against Cowley, when they held the Tigers to 39.
The Saints shot 36.2% (21-58) from the floor, while holding the T-Birds to just 22.6% (12-53) and 1 of 11 from behind the arc. Seward struggled from the charity stripe once again, however, hitting just 12 of 25 attempts (48%).
Jordan Mitchell led all scorers with 13 points, while Jamel Horton joined him in double-digits with 11 points. Ke'Sean Davis and Augustin both performed well off the glass, coming away with 10 rebounds apiece.
The Saints will be back in action one last time before Thanksgiving, traveling to Great Bend on Tuesday to take on Barton at 8 p.m.