OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 4, 2012) – Playing at home for the first time in 28 days, Oklahoma Christian looked sluggish at times on Tuesday night but posted a never-in-doubt 89-65 win over Dallas Christian (Texas) on Dan Hays Court in the Eagles’ Nest.
Derek Johnson, Will Reinke and Willie Harper each scored 16 points for OC (5-4), which had played six straight games away from home, going 2-4 during that stretch, mostly against top-shelf competition.
The Eagles never looked completely in sync against Dallas Christian (1-14), but also never trailed and led by as many as 28 points in the closing minutes.
“We did some good things,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “Some individuals did some good things. But we’re just not clicking as a unit. We’re very capable. We’re just not playing to our abilities. Our ceiling is still high. I think we’re going to get there, but we’re in a little bit of a lull. It’s very unusual to be playing away from home for a solid month. It’s really hard to get in a rhythm.”
The Crusaders didn’t field a starter taller than 6-foot-6, and that allowed OC’s big men – particularly the 6-foot-10 Reinke – to have their way inside. Five of Reinke’s six baskets came on dunks.
The 6-foot-8 Johnson missed his career scoring high by just two points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Harper added five assists to go with his 16 points.
“I thought it was Derek’s best game of the year,” Hays said. “I thought Willie Harper was really good, and we had some other guys who did some good things, but we’re just not clicking on all cylinders and I’m not sure why.”
Reinke had two dunks in a game-opening 11-3 run that set the tone. It took until the 10-minute mark for Dallas Christian to reach double digits in points and by that time, OC led 25-10. The Eagles led 47-28 at halftime.
A 6-0 run by the Crusaders pulled them within 54-38 with 15:45 left, but Reinke dunked, was fouled and made the ensuing free throw, then Kendre Talley hit two free throws. After the Crusaders got within 59-43 with 12:44 left, the Eagles scored the next eight points, including dunks by Harper and Reinke, to essentially put the game away.
Brandon Troutman added 11 points for OC, which shot 45.6 percent from the field (31 of 68). Malcolm McCarty led Dallas Christian with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Aaron Espinosa added 13 points and Max Berman slingshotted in four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.
OC will have two more home games before the Christmas break. The Eagles will host Mid-America Christian on Thursday night and Southwestern Christian on Saturday night.