With 30 seconds left on the clock, junior Elijah Strickland grabbed an offensive rebound to secure a 76-74 victory for the Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball team over the Newman University Jets on Jan. 26 in the Nest.
The Eagles’ victory marked the first win in the previous eight games.
“We have honestly started to have fun and just hoop,” freshman Dorian Lopez said. “I feel like as a whole we have become closer as a team. We are brothers now. We play for each other.”
Despite leading by as much as 19 points with seven minutes to play, the Jets orchestrated a comeback to pull within one point with one minute on the clock.
Junior Marcus Mathieu connected one free throw with 15 seconds remaining to solidify the two-point victory over the Jets. Mathieu led the Eagles in scoring with 25 points. Senior John Moon completed his sixth double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds, which moved him into 10th place on Oklahoma Christian’s career scoring list with 1,701 points.
Strickland and Lopez each contributed 12 points in the Eagle’s win.
With the win over Newman, Lopez said a high tempo and playing together would be the keys to Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma Panhandle State University.
Despite giving up a 13-point, first-half lead, the Eagles defeated the Aggies 84-81 in overtime. This victory placed the Eagles within one game of ranking eighth in the league, which would guarantee them a spot in the conference tournament.
On Saturday, the Aggies failed to limit Moon’s scoring. Moon went 16-19 from the field and scored 44 points in the Eagles’ victory. Saturday’s performance earned Moon the title of Heartland Conference Player of the Week and OklahomaSports.net’s Oklahoma Player of the Week. His 44 points moved him into third on the Heartland Conference scoring list.
Strickland contributed 16 points and seven rebounds, while Lopez added seven points and 12 rebounds in the Eagles’ victory.
The Eagles will travel to St. Edward’s University to face the Hilltoppers on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.