February 28, 2024

Buffs overcome sluggish start to beat Ulysses

Game Highlights

Game Box

Ulysses, KS (westernkansasnews.com)-Wins are never predicated on aesthetics. If they were, Tuesday night’s outcome might have been much different.  

After missing nine of their first 10 shots, Garden City finally got rolling, all the way to a 53-35 victory over Ulysses at Tigers Field House.

“We had no energy early on,” Buffaloes’ Head Coach Jacy Holloway said. “And it showed in our defense.”

After leading wire-to-wire in Saturday’s win, Garden City (9-6, 4-0) found themselves down by as many as three early on. But after sleepwalking through the first eight minutes, Garden City awoke on the back of Jesus Reyes’s three-point play that gave the Buffaloes a 20-18 lead late in the second quarter. They never trailed again.

The Buffaloes defense also clamped down, holding Ulysses to just two points over the final 3:30 of the first half.

“Our lack of defensive pressure was all due to the lack of energy,” Holloway said. “Our rotations were good, but we just lacked any enthusiasm.”

That lull allowed Ulysses back into the game early in the second half, when the Tigers scored five straight to cut a nine-point deficit to four. That’s as close as Chris Wagner’s team would get the rest of the way as Garden City responded with a 17-2 spurt to blow the game open.

“We got some things rolling in the second half,” Holloway explained. “But early on it wasn’t pretty.”

More worrisome for the fifth-year coach was the status of center Luis Rodriguez, who injured his knee in the second quarter and did not return.

“We’ll monitor him now over the next few days,” Holloway said. “We’re hoping for the best.”

Without Rodriguez in the lineup, Reyes flourished, pouring in a season-best eight points while pulling down seven boards. Tramp finished with a game-high 16 points on 6-of-14 from the field. Jared Koster hit double figures with 10 despite missing most of the game because of foul trouble.

Zach Zerr put in a team-high nine points for Ulysses. Tregg Rodriguez scored just six on 2-of-10 from the field.

Garden City missed their first 12 3-pointers before Tramp finally hit one from the wing in the third quarter. There were nine lead changes and four ties. The Buffaloes largest lead was 21 at 53-32 with 1:19 left in the fourth. The Tigers’ biggest advantage was 8-5 at the 1:00 mark of the opening quarter.

Tip ins: After starting the game 1-for-10 from the field, Buffaloes were 19-of-38 the rest of the way…The Buffaloes moved within a game of Maize for second place in the substate standings…It was Holloway’s 51st career victory…Garden City has now beaten Ulysses five straight times on their home floor…Caleb Tramp registered his 33rd career double-figure scoring game

Next up: vs. Guymon, Friday, February 6-8 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com; mobile app: KWKR and tuneinradio: KWKR