The Eagles shot basket-for-basket against Lubbock Christian University Thursday night.
In the second half it looked like they would come out with a victory and potentially beat the No. 3 team in the Heartland Conference, but the Eagles fell apart in the final five minutes and lost 64-59.
Oklahoma Christian University recorded 38.6 percent shooting accuracy to LCU’s 38.5, but free throws and 3-pointers favored the Chaparrals and won LCU the victory.
“They’re doubling and tripling John so much and he’s kicking out, you have to make shots,” Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dan Hays said. “Disappointing that we don’t get any more free throws but we played well defensively, they shot less than 40% so that’s an excellent defensive effort.”
John Moon started the game by winning the tip-off and sinking two points within seconds.
Oklahoma Christian slowly built a lead, but LCU continued to pressure. The teams changed leads a total of 15 times by the end of the game, with the largest lead of the game at eight points.
Moments before the halftime buzzer, the Eagles lost the lead and trailed 27-26 going into the second half. Chiza Ntirata brought the team back into the lead and the back-and-forth cycle repeated itself.
The Eagles lost their momentum in the last five minutes of the game, allowing the Chaparrals to increase their lead through 3-pointers and multiple trips to the charity stripe.
In the final minute, Oklahoma Christian recorded foul after foul in an attempt to force LCU into missing free throws.
“We were playing what you call ‘no catch’ and we were trying to steal the ball and if we didn’t get a steal, foul immediately,” Hays said. “That’s what you have to play and…you just hope they miss a free throw.”
Moon recorded the game’s sole double-double of the night with 10 rebounds and 12 points, while Elijah Strickland led the team with 14 points and six assists.
Hays said that although LCU is ranked third in the conference, there isn’t much difference between the Chaparrals and the Eagles, so the game was not a complete loss.
“Here we are in the first week of February and we’ve made a lot of strides,” Hays said. “We just have to keep our heads up and have a short memory and come in here Saturday and hopefully play well against Panhandle State.”
The Eagles return to their home court on Saturday to play Oklahoma Panhandle State University at 3 p.m.