ALVA, Okla. - After struggling for most of the game, the Northwestern Oklahoma State University men's basketball team found its stroke at the right time coming back to defeat Oklahoma City 55-51 in a game it needed to win on Hall of Fame induction day to keep themselves in good position to make the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament.
With the game tied, Oklahoma City went on a 9-0 run with 6:27 remaining in the game. NWOSU answered Oklahoma City's run with a 12-2 run highlighted by threes from Marshall Bell and Jonathan Freemyer. After Oklahoma City knotted the game on a free throw, Daryl Glover drove to the paint and scored with 1:07 remaining giving the Rangers at two-point lead.
The defense, which was outstanding all game for the Rangers, came up big again. Bell's steal gave the Rangers the ball with about 40 seconds remaining. He shot a triple that went in and out but Eze Akwari, who scored a game-high 15 points, tipped Bell's miss in giving the Rangers a four-point lead with 16 seconds left in the contest.
Bell's steal culminated an outstanding defensive effort by the Rangers (10-11, 7-7 Sooner Athletic Conference). NWOSU held Oklahoma City to three points over the final 6:27 as well as forcing the Stars to shoot just under 33 percent from the field. Along with keeping them to a low field goal percentage, the defense also forced the Stars into 22 turnovers.
It wasn't pretty for NWOSU on the offensive end as they struggled early shooting just 29 percent in the first half. The Rangers bounced back to shot 40 percent in the second half.
Jeremy Felton came off the bench scoring 13 points while Bell rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10. Akwari fell just short of a double-double with nine rebounds.
The win further muddles up a log jam for the last several spots in the eight team conference tournament to be held at John Brown starting March 1. As it currently sits, with some Saturday results in and some not, the Rangers sit in seventh just a half game behind Oklahoma Christian. For full SAC standings, click here.
Prior to the game, Al Hunt, Marlena Johnson, Lynn Scott and Slade Young were all inducted in to the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Athletics Hall of Fame.
Head coach Andrew Brown and his staff all took part in the NAIA's Coaches vs. Cancer promotion by wearing suits with sneakers.
The Rangers will stay at home to play Lubbock Christian at 8 p.m. next Thursday. Today's game was the first of four consecutive home games for the Rangers.
Be sure to follow the Rangers on Twitter (NWOSUAthletics) and Facebook (Northwestern Oklahoma State University Athletics).
Sat, January 28, 2012
by Allan Scarabello