CONCORDIA, Kan. — Central Community College overcame 23 turnovers Wednesday to win its season opener 71-65 over NJCAA Division I Cloud County Community College.

Jaxon Simons scored 16 points in his first collegiate game to lead the Raiders, but it was the defense that Central head coach Jerry Drymon was most impressed with.

"We played with tremendous effort tonight," Drymon said. "Our defensive focus was outstanding and we rebounded at a high level. We played with lots of composure despite being in a hostile crowd with a bunch of freshmen playing in their first college game. We are always excited when we can beat a D-I program."

Central held a three-point lead at halftime, 31-28, but the Thunderbirds hung around in the second half. After Cloud County tied the game at 49-all, the Raiders went on an 11-1 run to build a 10-point advantage just after the midway point of the second half.

Cloud County answered with a 9-2 burst after to pull within three, but the Raiders held on for the win.

Osceola graduate Bennett Nelson had 14 points and was a perfect 4 for 4 from the floor and 6 for 6 at the free-throw line. Malik Mooving added 14 points for Central and Latrell Talley had 13 points and 13 rebounds in their first collegiate games.

The Raiders host Hastings’ junior varsity team Monday at Raider Fieldhouse.

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