Behind Talley and VanDeKop, Eagles rally late but fall in OT to UTPB

Jordan VanDeKop went 9 of 11 from the field and scored 24 points in OC's loss to Texas-Permian Basin.
Jordan VanDeKop went 9 of 11 from the field and scored 24 points in OC's loss to Texas-Permian Basin.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 16, 2013) –It’s been a tough December for Oklahoma Christian, so coach Dan Hays is trying to focus on the positives.

There were plenty on Monday afternoon, even in defeat as the Eagles fell 110-101 in overtime to Texas-Permian Basin. OC rallied from a late seven-point deficit in regulation and had a chance to win in regulation before eventually succumbing to foul trouble and a talented UTPB squad in the extra period.

OC finished the first semester 4-6 overall and 0-2 in Heartland Conference play, but Hays left the Eagles’ Nest believing his team showed improvement and fight.

“We played well,” Hays said. “What’s encouraging is they spurted on us a little bit late, then we really grinded and made plays and got right back in it and put ourselves in position to actually win the game in regulation. So I’m pleased with our play. Obviously we wish we would have won the game, but there are some real positives that come out of it. Hopefully we can carry this into second semester.”

Kendre Talley recorded his third double-double of the season with 31 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan VanDeKop went 9 of 11 from the field to finish with 24 points. Willie Harper added 11 points and freshmen Deric Shelton and John Moon each scored nine. The Eagles shot 49.3 percent from the field and reached the century mark in points for the second time this season.

But UTPB (8-2, 2-0) shot 58.5 percent and had five players reach double figures. Dwayne Soders posted his eighth double-double of the season – tops in the conference – with 25 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony Dees added 22 points (on 5 of 9 3-point shooting) and five assists.

Phadarius Taylor, named as the conference’s co-player of the week earlier in the day, added 17 points and seven assists and Keith Martin had 17 points for the Falcons.

The 110 points were the most surrendered in a game by OC since Oral Roberts beat the Eagles 124-95 on Jan. 5, 1991. The last time OC scored 100 or more points and didn’t win was on March 5, 1990, in a 105-104 loss to Oral Roberts in the NAIA District 9 semifinals.

Monday’s game included 15 lead changes and numerous momentum swings. OC led by as many as 12 points in the first half and was up 50-42 at halftime. A 15-5 run by the Falcons early in the second half tied the game at 57-57 with 12:42 left.

OC again surged ahead by five at 68-63 on  Jordan Rutherford’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left, but UTPB answered and led 77-70 after Dees hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 6:20 left. The Eagles closed the gap by scoring the next six points.

John Moon’s layup with 38 seconds left in regulation put the Eagles ahead 87-85. Dees hit another 3-pointer to put the Falcons back on top. Talley drove to the basket in the final seconds and was fouled by Thomas Feeney with :02 left. Talley missed his first free throw but made the second, forcing overtime.

The Eagles led twice in overtime, the last time at 94-93 on a layup by Talley with 3:35 left. Dees put UTPB back ahead with yet another 3-pointer and the Falcons pulled away from that point.

The teams combined for 54 personal fouls and two technical fouls. OC had three players foul out (Moon, VanDeKop and Josh Faurot) while the Falcons lost two players to fouls – including one, Andre Reider, in the first half. UTPB finished 27 of 39 from the free-throw line (69.2 percent) while OC was 23 of 33 (69.7 percent).

“This free-throw shooting thing is really becoming habitual,” Hays said. “Maybe when we get our bleachers fixed and we get all our baskets down we can go back and spend time. That’s not an excuse but it’s reality. It’s not like to miss that many free throws. The last three games we’ve missed nine, nine and 10. So hopefully we get that taken care of.”

The Eagles will be off until Jan. 2, when they will visit Arkansas-Fort Smith.

“I like our guys,” Hays said. “Obviously, our record is not good but we’re going to keep getting better and second semester, hopefully we’ll see some good things.”