Forcing overtime for the second time in two weeks, the Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball team fell 92-88 to St. Mary’s University before also losing to second-ranked Texas A&M International University 83-79 on Saturday.
“We fought hard in the past two games but came up a little short in both,” junior Elijah Strickland said. “Losing in overtime against St. Mary’s, and then by four against Texas A&M International, were both tough losses for us. But even within losses there are positives and we showed a lot of fight in us.”
Marcus Mathieu’s layup with four seconds left in the game sent the Eagles into overtime on Thursday, where they were outscored 17-13 by the Rattlers. Mathieu finished the game with 23 points, while Strickland and senior John Moon added 18 and 12, respectively.
Moon contributed two blocked shots to the effort, giving him 222 total career blocked shots and moving him into second place on Oklahoma Christian’s all-time list.
Despite outscoring the Rattlers 36-34 in the second half and forcing 13 turnovers, St. Mary’s outrebounded the Eagles 44-38.
“It is just a play here and there separating us from the entire league,” Mathieu said. “We played two tough teams and went to the wire with them. As we go into these last couple of games, they are all must wins.”
Traveling to Laredo, TX, for their second road game of the week, the Eagles started the matchup with a 19-6 run before giving up 16 points to the Dustdevils, who would continue to lead for the remainder of the game.
Moon finished the game with 30 points, 21 rebounds and four blocked shots, Strickland added 22 points while Mathieu and freshman Dorian Lopez both contributed ten points to the effort.
Despite outrebounding Texas A&M International 38-18, the Dustdevils led 35-31 going into halftime, while also forcing 21 turnovers from the Eagles.
The Eagles currently sit ninth in the Heartland Conference rankings with a 3-11 conference record and have an 8-14 overall record. The top eight teams at the end of the regular season will qualify for the conference tournament in March.
“We are preparing each day as hard as we can,” Strickland said. “We feel like we need to do something great for our seniors for the last few games of the season. We want to go out on top for them.”
Oklahoma Christian will return home to host Roger’s State University on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Nest.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information Office.