Victory slipped through the fingers of Oklahoma Christian University’s basketball team after it outplayed Rogers State University but failed to make vital free throws, leaving the court with a 69-67 loss.
“Uncharacteristically, we missed eight free throws and that might’ve been the difference of the game,” Men’s Basketball Head Coach Dan Hays said. “But I was pleased with our kids – their attention to detail and their concentration, so it was a positive step forward.”
The Eagles outshot the Hillcats – excluding free throws – and out rebounded them as well, but the Hillcats managed five extra baskets from the charity stripe to push past Oklahoma Christian.
Despite the close loss, which brought the Eagles’ record to 4-14, Hays applauded the team and said, “it was a very good showing against a really good team, just too little, too late.”
Rogers State entered the second half with a seven-point lead and while the Eagles attempted to rally together to create offensive and defensive opportunities, the Hillcats kept the Eagles two points short at the final buzzer.
John Moon and Elijah Strickland led the scoring with 20 and 18 points, respectively. Moon recorded three blocks while Chiza Ntirata succeeded in 13 rebounds– the most of any player in the game.
The Eagles increased their shooting percentage by 11 percent since Thursday’s game against Dallas Baptist University, making 43.9 percent overall.
With 10 games remaining in the season, Hays said he’s looking for the team to improve their attack in the near future.
“It was a good effort and I’m proud of my team and how they played,” Hays said. “We’re starting to come together with some things so if we keep that up I think some things could change.”
Oklahoma Christian will travel to St. Mary’s University on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Statistics provided by the Oklahoma Christian University Sports Information office.