Score: Evangel 81, College of the Ozarks 59 | Box Score
Records: Evangel (7-5); College of the Ozarks (5-6)
Location: Springfield, Mo. | Ashcroft Center
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A complete team effort saw the Evangel men's basketball team turnback College of the Ozarks, 81-59, Thursday night in the second meeting of the Rib Crib Highway 65 Shootout.
"There was an emphasis on defense tonight and our guys answered," said head coach Steve Jenkins. "We had a couple breakdowns in the first half, but overall we played really good defense. Especially in the second half and we were able to finish."
Evangel trailed early but a three-pointer at the 17-minute mark from Cade Coffman gave the Crusaders a one-point advantage. College of the Ozarks would tie the game two more times, but the Crusaders never relinquished the lead after Edriel Martinborough hit a corner three with 14:45 left in the half.
Martinborough led Evangel with 22 points going 10 of 11 from the field to help the Crusaders shoot 50 percent as a team.
The Crusaders scored 20 points off turnovers while the Bobcats scored just two, and outscored the visitors in the paint, 40-16. Evangel forced 18 turnovers while only turning the ball over six times.
"CofO is a really good shooting team and we were able to take them out of their rhythm," Jenkins added. "We had that answer in the second half anytime they would knock down a three. Anytime we hit goals of shooting 50 percent and holding an opponent under 35 percent from the field, I like our chances."
Highlighted by two big blocks from Pavel Antonov, the Crusaders also blocked seven shots as a team.
"We are absolutely still getting better," Jenkins said. "That's really encouraging, but we've got a big one coming up. Every game from here is a conference game and to make a run at this league you need to come ready to play."
Evangel heads to Culver-Stockton for its final regular-season game of the calendar year on Saturday. Tipoff from Canton, Missouri is scheduled for 2 p.m.
For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EvangelAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store.