CLINTON — On Saturday, the Clinton Community College men’s basketball team let a late lead slip away on its way to defeat.

The Cougars made sure history didn’t repeat itself Tuesday.

Clinton shot out to a 38-26 halftime lead against Sauk Valley Community College and held off a charge by the visitors midway through the second half on its way to a 74-56 win at Yourd Gymnasium.

“The last few days our focus was to finish our shots, finish our plays and finish the game,” said Josh Davis, who earned his first victory as the Cougars’ coach. “That’s something we didn’t do against Carl Sandburg on Saturday. We missed some bunnies in that game and let it slip away.”

Sophomore Nick Thompson led the charge for the 1-1 Cougars with a game-high 23 points, including 12 in the first half.

Toney McCants added an 18-point performance that included a 14-point second half.

“Those guys did great, but I also thought our guards did a good job of getting the right guys the ball,” said Davis. “We had a few too many turnovers in the first half, but in the second half we kept that in check, even when they turned up the pressure.”

Also in double figures for Clinton were Scott Sturm with 13 points and Jake Gordon with 10.

Sauk Valley was led by Seth Nicklaus, who scored 14 points.

“I thought the hustle was great tonight,” said Davis. “Our guys got after the loose balls and the rebounding effort was excellent.”

Sauk Valley scored the first six points of the game before Clinton got on the board with a bucket by McCants.

The Cougars continued to charge before taking their first lead at 13-12 on a basket by Thompson with 13:05 left.

The teams remained in a tight battle over the next several minutes before the Cougars closed out the half with a big run.

With Sauk Valley ahead 24-23, Gordon drilled a 3-pointer, Thompson sank a pair of free throws, Gordon hit from 10 feet out and Adrian Fletcher knocked down a trey to make it a 33-24 Clinton lead with 3:06 left.

Nicklaus answered with a basket for the Skyhawks before Sturm drained a 3-pointer for Clinton and Fletcher scored to make it a 12-point halftime cushion.

Clinton continued to control the game in the second half before Sauk Valley made things interesting.

Trailing by 11 points, Josh Weber sank a basket and Nicklaus hit a 3-pointer to cut Clinton’s lead to 52-46 with 10:08 left.

That’s when McCants took over for Clinton, as he scored five straight points and 10 of the game’s next 13 to give the Cougars some breathing room at 62-49.

The Cougars coasted the rest of the way.

“This is a huge confidence-builder for our guys,” said Davis. “Sauk Valley is a very good team — we can take a lot of pride in this victory.”

And how about getting his first victory as a college coach?

“It feels great,” said Davis with a big smile. “Hopefully this is the first of many.”

Clinton plays at home again next Monday when Rock County, Wis., visits Yourd Gymnasium. Game time is 7 p.m.


Jeremiah Box 4 4-4 13, Jonathan Stultz 2 0-0 4, Chaurbin Smith 0 2-2 2, Seth Nicklaus 6 0-0 14, Phillip Peugh 1 0-0 2, Jonathan Johnson 2 0-0 6, Paul Warren 1 2-4 4, Josh Weber 5 0-1 10, Devin Ehrich 0 0-0 0, Ben Rayhorn 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 9-13 56.


Timon Brooks 0 0-0 0, Scott Sturm 5 0-0 13, Jake Gordon 4 0-0 10, Toney McCants 8 2-3 18, Deonté Hines 0 1-2 1, Adrian Fletcher 4 0-0 9, Nick Thompson 9 3-4 23, Incia Brooks 0 0-0 0, Rick Browne 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 6-9 74.

Halftime score—Clinton 38, Sauk Valley 26. 3-point field goals—Sauk Valley 5 (Box, Nicklaus 2, Johnson 2); Clinton 8 (Sturm 3, Gordon 2, Fletcher, Thompson 2). Total fouls—Sauk Valley 17, Clinton 11. Fouled out—Sauk Valley (Stultz).

Record—Clinton 1-1. Next game—Rock County, Wis. at Clinton, 7 p.m. Monday.

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