Kansas City Kansas Community College got some clutch field goals they'd been desperately missing in ending a three-game losing streak Tuesday night.
Getting 17 straight points from the duo of DeAngelo Bell and Bryce Johnson in the second half, the Blue Devils (3-5) held off repeated Metropolitan Community College challenges for a hard-earned 90-83 win.
The Blue Devils led by 10 points early in the second half only to have the Wolves close to 68-65 midway through the second period when Johnson started the decisive run with a dunk. Bell followed with three 3-pointers in a span of less than two minutes for a 79-65 lead and Johnson and Bell made it 85-75, closing a 17-10 run with a pair of treys with four minutes left. But even then Metro twice closed to within four points and it took four Deron McDaniel free throws in the final two minutes to clinch it.
"The guys stepped up and made shots but we have to do a better job of holding a lead," said KCKCC Coach Brandon Burgette. "We gave up two 10-point leads."
Five Blue Devils finished in double figures led by sophomore Caleb Jones, who had yet another double double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. McDaniel added 16 points, Bell 15, Trey Bates 12 and Jermaine Yarbough.10. The Blue Devils also got a key performance from freshman Zack Nelson, who had game highs of eight assists and four steals.
Bell's 15 points came on 5-of-6 3-pointers while Yarbough had three dunks and a layup in a 2½- minute span in the first half. Yarbough's four goals and five points by Nelson highlighted a surge that pushed KCKCC to a 29-20 lead only to have Metro go ahead 30-29 in a furious first half that had six ties and nine lead changes.
The Blue Devils had a season low seven turnovers while forcing 16 by Metro that KCKCC turned into 23 points. "We did a good playing in transition," said Burgette. "Metro played well and shot the ball well (47.1 percent). We just have to do a better job of rebounding and securing the glass."
Metro won the battle of the boards 43-36 with 19 of the rebounds coming offensively. The Blue Devils were a terrific 13-of-26 from 3-point and 14-of-26 (.538) in holding off Metro in the second half.
The Blue Devils now go back on the road for their next three games starting at Southeast Nebraska Thursday at 7 p.m. They'll also be at Park University's JV Monday at 7 p.m. and they have a re-match with Metropolitan on the Penn Valley campus Feb. 18.
Metro defenders can only watch as Jermaine Yarbough delivers one of his three slam dunks in a 2-½ minute stretch of the first half in KCKCC's 90-83 win over Metropolitan Tuesday night. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)