IOLA — A total of 29 points, 13 rebounds and 12 blocked shots was the stat line for Baylor-bound Neosho County Community College sophomore Joseph Acuil in the Panthers’ 107-88 win over arch-rival Allen County Community College (5-2 Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference East, 13-12 overall) in Iola Wednesday night.
The win at Allen was the first win for Neosho in Iola since 2011. The Panthers won that game on a last second three-pointer from now Panther Assistant Coach and Chanute High School alum Devon Crabtree.
The game remained somewhat tight until Neosho made a 16-5 run to grab a 81-68 lead with 6:15 to play in the game. During the run, the Panthers got buckets in transition, once again displaying an aerial assault. During the run, Acuil punched a two handed-slam, taking off from outside the free throw lane and finishing over Allen’s John Cornett.
“I thought he attacked the rim in the second half,” Head Coach Jeremy Coombs said about Acuil. “I told him ‘you’re going to have to dunk everything.’ He started to basically tear the rim off.”
The final run came when Neosho was able to push the tempo.
“We want to play fast but we want to play smart,” Coombs said. “Early in the game we tried to play fast and threw it away. We had 11 turnovers in the first half. In the second half were able to push the tempo, but make good passes and find the open guy without turning the ball over.”
When faced with some adversity, Coombs turned to a bigger lineup to focus on the defensive end to try and get into transition.
“It seemed like we had an eight to 10-point lead pretty much the whole game,” Coombs said. “They made a run in the second half and kind of got back in it. We actually got in some foul trouble and went with a bigger lineup. I thought we did a good job of defending and making them shoot tough shots. We were able to rebound the ball and take advantage of them on the other end.”
In the first half, the Panthers jumped out to a 6-0 lead before Allen pushed back to a one possession game at 12-10 at the 13:20 mark. Moments later, Panther freshman Greg Wimberly was whistled for a technical for showing his guns after making a play.
“He flexed his muscles,” Coombs said, “He’s a big dude. I hate to see that. I wish they could play a little bit and show some emotion, but that’s part of it. I knew he going to get hit with it, just an excited guy trying to get in there and get some buckets and give his team a boost. I’m not mad at him for it.”
Wimberly was one of four players booking at least a double-double and one of five players in double figure scoring for Neosho, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds. Freddie “McSwag” McSwain scored 11 points and grabbed 11 boards, throwing down a few more high flying jams.
BJ Jenkins found his stroke again, hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from three, finishing with 22 points, 10 assists and six rebounds.
“We always tell the guys if you’re struggling shooting, get in the gym and get some shots up,” Coombs said. “He’s been living in the gym. He’s been getting on the gun and getting lots of shots up. It really paid off.”
Garin Vandiver contributed 11 points, seven boards.
As a team Neosho shot 51.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from three. Allen shot 37.7 percent from the field and 16 percent from three.
The Panthers outrebounded the Red Devils 65-40 and ended with 20 blocked shots.
Allen was led by Courtney Stockard with a game-high 33 points. Josh Sweet scored 19, Jordan Nanton had 17.
Neosho (16-11) hosts Coffeyville (6-3, 22-5) Wednesday. Coffeyville beat Neosho 76-65 in a physical contest at Nellis Hall Jan. 28. The Red Ravens ended a 10-game winning streak for Neosho in that game.
Neosho 43 64 - 107
Allen 37 51 - 88
Neosho: Joseph Acuil 29, Deshawn Terrell 8, Brett Frantz 8, BJ Jenkins 22, Greg Wimberly 16, Jackson Perez 2, Freddie McSwain 11, Garin Vandiver 11.
Allen: Darnell Jones-Bowie 7, Josh Sweet 19, Courtney Stockard 33, Jameel Henson 6, Jermaine Long 3, Jordan Nanton 17, Tevin Bartley 1, Darren Spruill 2.