WARRENSBURG, Mo. — A big scoring run in the final eight minutes of the first half put Central Oklahoma in a hole and the Bronchos never recovered in falling to Upper Iowa 83-70 Sunday afternoon on the final day of the Central Missouri Fairfield Inn Classic.
UCO was up 25-22 with 8:34 left in the opening half before the Peacocks went on a 24-7 spurt to grab a commanding 46-32 lead. The Bronchos never got closer than eight the rest of the way in falling to 1-4 on the season.
"We did some good things early to get a little bit of a lead, but the game got away from us for awhile and that put us in a bind," first-year head coach Bob Hoffman said. "Our rebounding wasn't good and that's an area where we have to be better. It's still a learning process for this group, but they're working hard."
The Bronchos were outrebounded 36-22 and struggled again from beyond the 3-point line, making just 4-of-16 (25.0 percent) long-range shots. UCO shot 47.2 percent (25-of-53) overall.
Upper Iowa shots 51.7 percent (30-of-58) from the field and hit 10-of-25 3-point tries (40.0 percent).
Cam Givens and Dashon Bell scored 17 points apiece to lead Central. Givens was 7-of-12 from the field with one 3-pointer, while Bell made 5-of-8 shots and all seven free throw attempts.
Dashawn McDowell chipped in nine points, three assists and two steals, with Carson Calavan adding seven points and five assists.
UCO fell behind 4-0 early before coming back to take a 9-8 lead on a Calavan trey. It was a 15-all tie when Givens drained a 3-pointer and Jalyn Turner dropped in a layup off a McDowell steal and assist to make it 20-15 with 10:55 left in the half.
The lead was 25-22 at the 8:34 mark after a Seth Hurd layup, but UCO's shots stopped falling and the Peacocks took charge with their 24-7 run. That made it 46-32, with Bell hitting three last-second free throws to get the Bronchos within 46-35 at intermission.
Central cut the deficit to eight (62-54) midway through the second half on a D.J. Basey dunk and the Bronchos were down nine (67-58) at the 8:44 mark after two McDowell foul shots. UIU then reeled off seven unanswered points to regain control and went on to close out the game.
UCO make its lone-awaited home debut Wednesday, hosting former Lone Star Conference rival Midwestern State at 7 p.m.