LAS VEGAS, Nev. – George Nelson posted a double-double and Hardin Simmons outplayed Linfield from start to finish in a 78-53 nonconference victory Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas.
The matchup was the first of two D3hoops.com Classic games Linfield has slated as part of a mid-winter break tournament.
Titus Mims (15) and John Durr (14) joined Nelson (20) to lead the Cowboys in scoring. Nelson also paced Hardin Simmons in rebounds, as the senior forward grabbed 15 of the Cowboys’ 49 boards.
Nick Cantonwine (Jr., Salem, Ore.) was the Wildcats’ lone double-digit scorer; his 10 points were the most of the sophomore’s young career.
Both offenses were stymied early on, as it was three minutes before the teams traded threes to start the scoring. Key buckets from Linfield’s bench kept the ‘Cats in the game early. Cantonwine knocked down a long jumper to bring Linfield within a point, 10-9, midway through the first.
But a fast-break layup from Mims capped off a 7-0 Cowboys run that forced Linfield head coach Larry Doty to burn a timeout. Hardin Simmons (8-2), coming off three straight victories, began to pull away with a dozen minutes left in the first. Durr finished a layup that pushed the spread to 19-9.
The ‘Cats (2-8) struggled to capitalize on fast-break opportunities, and the Cowboys continued to pull away. Four straight points from Durr made the score 23-11 with less than eight minutes left in the first. Leading scorer Andrew Batiuk got into foul trouble early, picking up his third personal foul with seven minutes to go in the first.
A three from Tim Logan followed by a mid-range jumper from Cantonwine cut the Cowboys’ lead to 25-20 with just over five minutes to play in the first.
Linfield got within two after a three-point play from Cantonwine, however it was as close as the ‘Cats would get to evening the score in the first half. An 11-0 run from Hardin Simmons in the waning minutes of the opening stanza gave the Cowboys a 38-27 lead heading into the break.
The Cowboys kept Batiuk and Brandon Harris quiet, as the sophomore tandem was held to just four combined points in the first half.
A three from Durr coming out of the break kicked off an 8-2 run for Hardin Simmons, giving the Cowboys their largest lead of the game at 17. The Cowboys held on to their double-digit lead through the middle of the second half, and the ‘Cats were unable to put together any kind of offensive run.
The game got out of hand with under 10 minutes to play, as the Cowboys built an insurmountable 25-point lead. Hardin Simmons closed out the game by maintaining its lead and playing solid defense to deny Linfield a chance at a comeback.
AHEAD: Linfield takes on Wisconsin Lutheran Sunday afternoon in the latter of a pair of D3hoops.com Tournament games in Las Vegas. The ‘Cats and Warriors are set to tip off at 4 p.m. Pacific time.
10 points on 4-for-10 shooting
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