by Michael D. Gunnell
Southwest Sports Information
The near-capacity crowd got all they wanted and then some Monday night as the home standing Bears fought off Co-Lin to claim a 94-87 MACJC South Division win and remain in the thick of the chase for a playoff spot.
Damian Dear and Atticus Taylor combined to give the Bears an early 8-0 with 18:26 left in the first half.
The Bears then seemed to have things well in hand, with 7:28 left before halftime, when Bob Boyd nailed a three pointer to give them their largest lead of the night, 33-16.
The Bears went on to hold a 46-35 lead at intermission.
Co-Lin outscored the Bears 13-4 to open the second half and trim the Bears' lead to 50-48 with 17:01 left in the game. But, a 10-0 run, capped by another Boyd trey, put the Bears back up by double digits, 60-48, with 14:18 on the clock.
Co-Lin would not give up, outscoring the Bears 13-0 over the next 2:56 to take a 61-60 lead with 11:22 remaining.
The teams then traded baskets for several minutes before a Roderick Smith free throw left the Bears on top 72-67 with 8:28 to play.
The teams then traded baskets for several more minutes before a pair of Dear free throws with 0:03 on the clock sealed the win for the home team.
"Winning is hard," said Bears head coach Bryan Bender, "We say it all the time. Finding a way to beat Co-Lin is something we've struggled to do since I've been here and we were finally able to have a couple of things fall our way."
"We had big time individual performances," Bender went continued. "Bob was great, Damian was great. Roderick continued his dominance inside. We had some big time plays by Jay Malone feeding the ball. It's rewarding for these guys. They continue to work and work (and) tonight we were able to be on the right side of the scoreboard."
Dear scored 25 points to lead all scorers. Boyd totaled 16 points while Taylor scored 14 and Smith had 11. The Bears were nearly perfect at the free throw line, making 11 of 14.
Miles Daniels scored 14 points to lead Co-Lin in scoring. He and his teammates combined to hit 15 of 26 free throws.
The Bears make their final road trip of the season Thursday night as they take the court in Ellisville against the host Jones Bobcats. The South Division contest if set for a 7:30 start.