COFFEYVILLE, Kan. - Nothing like taking down the No. 1 team in the country to get your weekend off to a good start.
University of Arkansas signee Jemal Farmer poured in 23 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 5 assists to lead his Cloud County (Kan.) Community College squad over No. 1 Cowley College 74-70 Friday afternoon at the 11th annual Jayhawk Conference Shootout.
Farmer (6-5, 215), who was playing in front of Razorback head coach John Pelphrey and UA assistant Isaac Brown, hit two free throws with 8 seconds left to take down previously unbeaten Cowley.
"It was a total team effort," Farmer said. "We knew it was going to be a tough game since they are the top-ranked team in the country and we did a great job in moving the ball around and getting open shots. We made big shots down the stretch and it was a great win for us to knock off the No. 1 team."
Farmer had 14 of his points in the opening half, which ended with Cloud (10-1) ahead 33-29 and a tone set.
"They are number one for a reason, they are a great team," Farmer said. "We knew they were going to come at us hard and we had to come out and do the same thing."
But Cowley, the school from which Arkansas signed current junior Montrell McDonald, grabbed leads of 9 and 5 points after intermission.
Both times Farmer hit 3-pointers to start comebacks and then was the guy who iced the game with his charity tosses.
"He is such a team guy," Cloud head coach Kevin Muff said. "He is ultra-competitive, takes a lot of the responsibility on his shoulders and he did that today in big spots. There is nobody I would rather have take the big shot or be on the line at the end. At as you can see, he gets big rebounds, too.
"He is going to be a really good player for Arkansas," Muff added. "He would have been good wherever he went, but I think he really fits into what they are trying to do over there."
Farmer was 7-of-12 from the field, 3-of-4 from 3-point range and 6-of-10 from the free throw line.
He is averaging 22.6 points per game this season while shooting 52 percent from the field, 35 percent from 3-point range and 72.3 percent from the free throw line.
"He has a great all-around game," Muff said.
Cloud won Friday despite the fact its top two point guards are out with injury and it had to take the redshirt off of a freshmen point guard.
"We were very fortunate to win this game and I think our kids played with a lot of heart and a lot of toughness," Muff said. "Our energy was really, really good today."
With just four sophomores on his team and a host of freshmen, Muff admits he is surprised at the early success.
"It has exceeded my expectations so far," Muff said. "But we just have great kids who work hard and we have a great leader in Jemal."
Farmer said he takes his role as one of the older guys very seriously.
"I just try to stay real positive with the young guys," Farmer said. "I just try to talk to them about everything and take them under my wing. I know they are looking to see how I act both on and off the court so I want to set a great example for them to follow."
The Jayhawk Shootout has all 20 teams of the Jayhawk Conference – 10 in the East Division and 10 in the West – involved with each squad playing a pair of games.
Cloud will play host Coffeyville Saturday night at 7 p.m.
"This really helps out," Farmer said. "All of the teams of the Jayhawk West are here and we get a chance to look at them all and get ready for conference play."
While he is concentrating on his own season, Farmer is also devouring any information he can get on his future one.
"I have been doing a lot of reading about it and talking to Coach Brown," Farmer said. "I am happy that they are off to a 5-1 start. They are off to a good start and I think they are going to have a lot of success this season."
"I love that whole staff," Farmer added. "That's the biggest reason that I chose to sign with Arkansas. I really appreciate them coming and supporting me today."
Farmer, Cloud upset No. 1 Cowley
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