Dan Hays led the men’s basketball team in a 97-90 triumph over St. Edward’s University on Thursday during his final week as head coach at Oklahoma Christian University.
“We just made winning plays at the end of a ball game. We haven’t been able to do that very much this year,” Hays said in addition to feeling “very proud” of his team.
St. Edward’s established an early lead, setting a “tempo,” according to Hays. But, the Eagles stole the lead after 14 minutes and controlled the court through halftime, where they led 40-34, and battled the Hilltopper’s full-court pressure.
St. Edward’s full-court defense backfired as Oklahoma Christian continuously fought around its opponents and completed layups without pressure or threw the ball to a wide-open John Moon, who dunked throughout the night.
Tension increased when a loose rebound sent the court into a free-for-all and the referees called out Moon on his first foul. Immediately after, Assistant Coach Terril Hankins received a technical foul for throwing his hands towards the floor in disapproval, according to Hays.
“It was bogus,” Hays said of the technical foul.
The Hilltopper’s Aubrie King missed the two free throws accompanying the technical and then shot 1-2 from the line for Moon’s foul.
The score read 88-76 in the Eagles’ favor at the two-minute mark. Jordan Rutherford, Daniel Eibel, Moon and Zach Norris added the game-winning points and finished with a 97-90 victory.
The team shot 64.8 percent, led by Moon with 41 points. Elijah Strickland and Rutherford contributed 19 and 10, respectively.
“Our defense was solid the whole game, I hate to say that when they get up to 90 points but they’re a good team, they’re an explosive team and they brought the tempo up and we went with them,” Hays said. “Hopefully we have one more in us.”
Hays will coach his last game at Oklahoma Christian in the season finale against the University of Texas Permian-Basin on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Nest.