Ulysses, KS-Jarrod Springston didn’t look like his normal self in the first half. It had his Head Coach perplexed.
“I’m not sure what was up,” Jacy Holloway said. “He wasn’t being aggressive.”
That all changed over the final 16 minutes.
Springston scored 10 of his team-best 15 points in the second half, Carlos Acosta added 11, and Garden City pulled away for a 48-33 victory over Ulysses at Tigers Field House Tuesday night.
“Jarrod was a lot more aggressive in the second half,” Holloway said. “He got to the rim and really played well.”
Over the first 16 minutes, Springston totaled five points on 2-of-9 shooting. Still, his team had an 11-point lead early in the second quarter when Acosta hit a tough running hook along the right baseline for a 15-4 edge.
“I think we played much better defense tonight,” Holloway said. “But Ulysses made us for work it.”
The Tigers fought back during a second-quarter stretch in which they outscored the Buffaloes 10-0 and held them scoreless for more than seven minutes. Devin Walker’s hook over Kelvon Bennett pulled Ulysses to within one in the final minute.
“We just didn’t look in rhythm for stretches of the game,” Holloway explained. “But eventually we got it together.”
Kyler Lamb ended the long drought with a 10-foot pullup that gave Garden City a 17-14 halftime advantage.
The second half was a completely different story.
Springston wiped away his first half struggles, hitting five of his final seven shots including back-to-back baskets to close out a 10-3 run that put the Buffaloes up 27-19 after three.
“We finished strong in this game, and defense had a big part in that,” Holloway said.
Garden City limited the Tigers to just five points on 1-of-9 shooting in the third quarter. Then in the fourth, Azavier Williams help put Ulysses away for good, nailing a 3-pointer from the right corner and a pullup 12 footer that pushed the lead to 10. Springston added two layups, Williams knocked down another triple and Acosta finished off a three-point play, giving the Buffaloes their largest lead, 46-29 with 1:22 remaining.
Williams chipped in 10 points for Garden City, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Lamb added eight points and 10 rebounds, and Jackson Dirks had four points and two boards. Garden City shot 13-of-26 (50 percent) in the second half.
(Devin) Walker was the lone Tiger in double figures with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. It was Ulysses’ sixth straight loss.
Next up: Garden City vs. Dodge City-Tuesday, Jan. 29-7:30 p.m. tip on 99.9 FM; westernkansasnews.com/kwkr and KWKR mobile app