By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — WEST LAFAYETTE — Kokomo’s boys basketball team beat Harrison 78-65 Saturday night to cap a productive weekend.
Kokomo was coming off a 68-48 rout of North Central Conference rival Anderson on Friday night. The Kats followed with a strong effort in Saturday’s matchup of Class 4A Sectional 7 squads.
“A great win for our guys,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said on the WIOU 1350-AM postgame show. “We played an inspired Harrison team on their home floor. I think this is the first two-win weekend we’ve had this season. ... I’m really proud of the guys. We put two very good offensive games back to back, defended when we had to.”
Kokomo improved to 8-6 following its third straight win. The Kats are 5-1 in the 2014 part of the schedule.
Tayler Persons, in the second game of his comeback from knee surgery, led the Kats with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Erik Bowen and Mykal Cox also had big games for the Kats. Bowen finished with 18 points and six rebounds and Cox had 11 points and six assists.
The teams went back and forth in the opening half with the Kats leading 22-20 after the first quarter and 40-37 at halftime. The Kats hit 15 of 30 shots from the field in the half, but the Raiders (4-9) answered with 13-of-21 shooting including 7-of-14 shooting from 3-point range.
Kokomo started to gain some separation in the third quarter. Bowen closed the quarter with a buzzer beater to push the Kats’ lead to 59-50.
Kokomo maintained and extended its lead in the final quarter.
“Our guys weathered the storm,” McCauley said, referring to Harrison’s hot shooting in the first half. “I really like how we played defensively in the second half and I really liked how we played offensively throughout the entire game.”
Kokomo finished 28 of 55 from the field and 19 of 26 from the free throw line. The Kats had a 24-11 edge in points off turnovers and Brad Dockemeyer grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Red and Blue to a 33-21 advantage on the boards.
Demarius Warren added 10 points for the Kats. Jordan Matthews had eight points off the bench.