A 19-2 run in the second half proved key for the Oklahoma Christian University’s men’s basketball team as the Eagles posted an 84-79 victory in Head Coach Cory Cole’s unofficial home debut in an exhibition against Southwestern University on Saturday.
Senior John Moon scored 28 points for the Eagles, going 13-20 shooting and adding 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals in 32 minutes on the court. He led the team in points, rebounds and blocks.
“Practice has been more intense with Coach Cole,” Moon said. “I feel like the game against Tulsa was a good way of letting us know where we were and what we needed to work on in the future for games like this.”
Junior Marcus Mathieu, who started his career at McNeese State University in NCAA Division I before spending the last season at Seward County Community College and now plays for Oklahoma Christian, scored 25 points to pair with four assists and three steals, both of which led the team. He shot 7-14 from the field, including 3-4 from the 3-point range and 8-14 from the free-throw line with no turnovers over the course of his 33 minutes played.
Southwestern hit nine 3-pointers in the first half to take a 27-36 halftime lead and continued to build, leading by as much as 15 points with 17:27 remaining in the second half.
Both Moon and Mathieu played a key role in a 19-2 run that capitalized on the Moundbuilders hitting one field goal in seven minutes of play following the 17-minute mark. The duo scored six points each during the Eagles’ run and, after the game was tied 57-57 from a pair of free-throws from Mathieu, Moon tipped in a shot to give the Eagles their first lead since the opening minutes at the 10:58 mark.
Southwestern evened the score at 59-59, but the Eagles answered back with an 11-4 run that continued to grow. The Moundbuilders continued to keep it close but with 1:16 left in the game, Moon scored off a put-back to give the Eagles a 79-74 lead that would not be passed again.
Junior Jaquan Dupree scored 11 points and hit both of his 3-point attempts of the game and added a steal in his 24-minutes of play.
Oklahoma Christian will open the regular season next Friday and Saturday in the Heartland-Lone Star Challenge in Commerce, TX. They will face Texas A&M University-Commerce on Friday at 4 p.m. and Cameron University on Saturday at 2 p.m.