SHAWNEE, Okla. – OCU gutted out its first road victory and earned the 68-65 decision over St. Gregory’s on Saturday at W.P. Wood Fieldhouse.
The Stars (12-8, 5-7) were propelled to the win off of a balanced scoring attack that saw four players reach double-figures, including a trio who reached the 13-point mark.
Shane Rogers, a junior from Flower Mound, Texas, finished with 13 points, on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, including the go-ahead basket in the closing minutes of the game.
Orlan Jackman, a junior from London, and Nate Flowers, a senior from Waldorf, Md., ended the night with identical stats of 13 points and four rebounds. Bryant Williams, a senior from Austin, Texas, chipped in 10 points and six rebounds for OCU. Dee Proby, a senior from Round Rock, Texas, had a team-high seven rebounds and four assists to go with eight points.
“I feel like we’re learning and still making improvements and hopefully we can build off of tonight’s victory,” OCU coach Kevin Morrissey said. “Hopefully, we can continue to find momentum and get us some more wins.”
OCU led the majority of the first half but a 3-point basket at the buzzer by Dylan Lemley saw the Stars own the slim 37-35 lead at halftime. OCU maintained the narrow advantage entering the second half, but by the 15:17 mark St. Gregory’s had tied the game at 45-45. OCU answered back to get a quick six-point lead after a Jackman layup and Rogers 3-point play the hard way put the score at 52-46. St. Gregory’s fought back to tie and take the eventual lead after three consecutive 3-point baskets by Fayzon Richey and Brandon Jackson put the score at 55-52 in favor of the home team with 10:55 to play.
The Stars tied the score at 63-63 with 4:45 to play after a pair of free throws by Kaleb Smith found their mark. OCU finally regained the lead when Rogers drained a three with 2:20 to play off a dish from Flowers.
“The guys made big plays, big free throws,” Morrissey said. “Nate found Shane there for that big three tonight. I’d say at the beginning of the year, I don’t know if Nate would have made that pass, he may have forced it.”
The Stars’ defense held court after a 3-point basket for St. Gregory’s missed at the buzzer and OCU escaped with the narrow victory.
OCU shot 51.0 percent from the floor and held the Cavaliers to converting 38.5 percent of their attempts. The Stars outrebounded the Cavaliers 34-28 in the hard-fought victory.
“I thought we did a better job with our turnovers, I thought we did a better job with giving up offensive rebounds and this is something I had been stressing for weeks, it just hadn’t really hit home,” Morrissey said. “They understand that if we keep those two categories down to a minimum it will result in a win.”
The Stars hope to continue their road momentum as they travel to Lubbock Christian (Texas) on Thursday at 8 p.m.