By John Curtis
Dodge City Daily Globe
Posted Nov. 18, 2013 @ 9:50 pm
Forward Delvon Rencher hit a free throw with 3.4 seconds in regulation to push the Dodge City Conquistadors to a 96-95 win over the Clarendon Bulldogs in the final game of the Conqs Classic at United Wireless Arena.
It was the second straight one-point win in two nights as the Conqs improved to 6-1 on the season as the two squads battled in a see-saw battle that saw 12 lead changes and 11 ties.
"The one thing about this game is the outcome," said DCCC men's basketball head coach Kyle Campbell. "We're learning on the run and these aren't things you can practice; the pressure where you're down one late in the game in a late game situation. I don't necessarity like the way we're playing, but we're winning."
E.J. Eaves scored 20 of his team-high 28 points in the second half to pace the Conqs. Eaves said he is getting more comfortable in the system as the season has progressed.
"Our coaches told me to relax and let the game come to me," Eaves said. "These type of wins are good for bringing our team closer together."
Larry Beckett recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, with 15 points coming after intermission. Rencher added 18 points and grabbed nine boards in the win.
Campbell said there is a lot of work still to be done, but this group is able to stay on focus and win the close games.
"We're young and not very smart right now, but we're finding way to win the close games and we couldn't win these games last year," Campbell said. "Our ceiling is very high with this team and it's just a matter of getting everybody on the same page.
"The great thing about it is that it's not one single guy every night for us to win.
Horshell Grant scored 31 points and Melvin Mitchell added 19 to lead the Bulldogs (3-4).
Dodge City scored 12 of the first 15 points of the game before the Bulldogs was able to take the lead seven minutes into the game and led 29-23 midway through the first half.
The Conqs were able to battle back with a nine-point run and led 46-42 at halftime, despite committing 13 turnovers in the stanza. Rencher led Dodge City in scoring with 10 points.
The Conqs were able to extend their lead to 10 at early in the second half before Clarendon started another comeback and were able to regain the lead at 72-70 at the midway point of the period. The teams exchanged the lead throughout the remainder of the period up to Rencher's game winning charity shot. A final coast-to-coast drive attempt by Grant was taken too late and was missed.
The Conqs return to action Tuesday night with a return battle against the Lamar Running Lopes. Dodge City won at Lamar 70-68 in the first meeting this season between the two teams. Gametime is scheduled for 8 p.m.