Against Heartland Conference foe Dallas Baptist University, the Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball team was outscored by 20 points in the second half before falling 89-68 Feb. 15 in Dallas, TX.
Junior Roderick Smith led the team with 16 points while senior Elijah Strickland had 15.
Dallas Baptist outrebounded the Eagles 32-25 and the Patriots shot 61.5 percent from the 3-point line as Oklahoma Christian only shot 38.5 percent.
Junior Will Lienhard returned after missing two games due to injury, scoring 11 points and blocking three shots while playing just 17 minutes.
Oklahoma Christian’s last lead of the game came with 18:19 left in the game at 37-34 before Dallas Baptist went on an 11-2 run and held the lead for the rest of the game.
Following the loss, the Eagles bounced back for an 86-81 win over Lubbock Christian University on Senior Night, which clinched the team a place in the Heartland Conference tournament Feb. 17.
The last appearance in a postseason tournament for Oklahoma Christian came in 2012 when the Eagles competed in the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament in the NAIA. Assistant coach Kendre Talley was the team’s starting point guard and was named the tournament’s most valuable player that year.
Smith again led the team in points with 23 on 9-of-11 shooting and added 8 boards, while junior Jordan Box made two 3-pointers to contribute 19 points in the win over Dallas Baptist
The Eagles went 7-of-11 from behind the three-point line and shot 51.7 percent from the field. They also outrebounded the Chaparrals 42-32.
Senior Abel Rodriguez came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points and grab a career-high 11 rebounds for the Eagles.
Lubbock Christian was up 45-41 with 14:41 remaining in the game before the Eagles put together a 17-6 run to lead 58-48 with 10 minutes left.
Oklahoma Christian closed the game by going 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal the victory.
The Eagles will be the fifth, sixth or seventh seed in the tournament depending on the results of their final two games against the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith and Rogers State University.
The Lady Eagles, despite junior Addy Clift scoring 27 points in the second half, still dropped their final home game of the season 73-66 against Dallas Baptist Feb. 17.
Clift totaled 35 points on 14-of-25 shooting and freshman Katie Mayo added 12 points. They were the only two Oklahoma Christian players to score in double figures.
The Lady Eagles brought the game within 10, 71-61, with less than 44 seconds left and Clift’s final basket pulled them within seven.
Senior Audrey Hayes scored eight points in her final game in the Nest.
Both teams will travel to Fort Smith, AR Feb. 22 to play against Arkansas–Fort Smith. The previous game’s results can be read online.