The Manhattan Christian College men’s basketball team went on the road to Joplin, Mo., Friday night and picked up a key Midwest Christian College Conference (MCCC) victory over Ozark Christian College, 70-68.
MCC entered the contest in first place at 8-0 in the conference and Ozark was in second place at 6-0.
The Crusaders got off to a strong start and opened up an early 12-6 lead. However, that wouldn’t last for long, as Ozark rallied to take a 22-19 lead midway through the first half.
From there, the margin stayed between four and six points, and at halftime MCC trailed 38-34.
In the second half, Ozark started strong and opened up a 44-34 lead and got the margin to as big as 52-40. The Crusaders started a little rally and cut the deficit to 54-48. Then after Ozark led 57-49, MCC went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 57-56.
MCC took its first lead since early in the first half on a layup by Sterling Roaf to go up 60-59 with about five minutes left.
Ozark surged back and took the lead at 63-61.
Then with about a minute to go, Roaf tied the game at 68 with a strong baseline move. On the ensuing Ozark possession it missed a shot and MCC’s Alex Hammack came up with the loose ball rebound and raced out for an uncontested layup to give the Crusaders the 70-68 lead with 20 seconds to play.
On its final possession, Ozark missed a 12-foot jumper and Roaf came up with the rebound to secure the victory.
Jack Mitchell led the way for MCC with 16 points, while Roaf added 13 points and 11 rebounds. Hammack scored 11 points and Sage Ruis finished with 10 points.