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Cold shooting dooms Eagles in loss to No. 23 Midwestern State

Willie Harper's second-half basket gave OC a lead against Midwestern State, but the Eagles eventually lost 71-56.
Willie Harper's second-half basket gave OC a lead against Midwestern State, but the Eagles eventually lost 71-56.

PUEBLO, Colo. (Nov. 16, 2012) – Oklahoma Christian dug out of an early hole but poor shooting, especially from 3-point range, doomed the Eagles on Friday afternoon in a 71-56 loss to No. 23-ranked Midwestern State (Texas) in the Al Kaly Shriners’ Classic at Colorado State-Pueblo’s Massari Arena.

OC (3-2) shot 35.9 percent from the field (23 of 64) and missed its first 14 3-point attempts before finishing 2-of-20 (10 percent) from behind the arc. Midwestern State (2-0), which reached the NCAA Division II quarterfinals last season, went 7-of-15 from 3-point range.

The Eagles weren’t much better from the free-throw line, going 8-of-19 (42.1 percent).

“We were 2-of-20 from 3-point range and missed 11 free throws in the second half,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “You can’t win against a very good Midwestern State team shooting that poorly.”

Only two OC players reached double figures in scoring – Kendre Talley, who had 15 points, and Will Reinke, who had 11. The Eagles lost by double digits despite committing only eight turnovers.

Midwestern State used a 16-0 run to take a 22-6 lead with 10:49 left in the first half. A 9-0 run by the Eagles closed that gap somewhat and three free throws by Talley in the final seconds pulled OC within 29-24 by halftime.

OC scored the first six points of the second half and led 30-29 after two free throws by Talley with 16:38 left. The Eagles led as late as the 14:40 mark at 36-34 after a basket by Willie Harper before things fell apart.

The Mustangs scored 17 of the next 19 points to seize command of the game and led by double digits the rest of the way.

Keith Spellman led Midwestern State with 21 points, while Kevin Grayer and Corbin Thomas added 10 points each. Spellmen (8-of-10 from the line) made as many free throws as OC’s entire team.

The Eagles will face another Division II power, West Texas A&M, on Saturday afternoon in the classic.

“We don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Hays said. “We must get ready for a similar West Texas team on Saturday.”