Last-minute defensive stop lifts Eagles past Dallas Baptist 66-63

Devan White looks to get his teammates fired up as the Eagles take the court for the second half at Dallas Baptist on Saturday.
Devan White looks to get his teammates fired up as the Eagles take the court for the second half at Dallas Baptist on Saturday.

DALLAS (Jan. 19, 2013) – Down by one point in the final seconds, Dallas Baptist (Texas) – as expected – went to its 6-foot-8 center, Nick Fox. OC’s Nick Tate is five inches shorter than Fox, but that didn’t stop him from making the defensive play of the day.

As Fox went toward the basket, Tate forced a jump ball with 5.6 seconds left. The possession arrow pointed OC’s way, Eric Randall made two free throws moments later and the Eagles escaped the Burg Center with a 66-63 win on Saturday afternoon after a 35-foot shot by Jonathan Perry clanged off the back of the rim.

OC (10-6) moved to 3-3 on the season against Heartland Conference foes, although the Eagles’ games don’t count in the conference standings. DBU (5-10) lost its fifth straight game despite 30 points and eight rebounds from Fox.

“It’s a good win,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “We did what we have to do. This league is hard. Dallas Baptist plays well here at home. It was a good effort. Any time you can win on the road, that’s great.

“Nick was solid. We made a few mistakes, but we played a good game.”

It might have been a road game, but OC fans in the crowd outnumbered DBU supporters more than two to one, thanks to a strong turnout from Dallas-area alumni, many of whom hadn’t watched an OC game in years.

“It was really nice to see our alumni turn out in force,” Hays said. “We hope they come back to see us play here next year.”

On paper, the game looked like a showdown between two of the Heartland Conference’s best post players and Fox and OC’s Will Reinke didn’t disappoint. Fox won the scoring battle, but Reinke – double- and triple-teamed on almost every possession – outperformed him in other areas, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot.

More importantly, Reinke played the second half without fouling after picking up three first-half fouls.

“Nick Fox is a really good player for them,” Hays said. “Will was a little subpar, but they were dropping the whole kitchen sink on him in there, too. I saw some real bright spots. I thought Willie Harper hit a couple of big baskets for us. I thought Devan (White), defensively, was a stalwart, and Eric Randall was outstanding.”

Seven OC players – Reinke, Kendre Talley, Brandon Troutman, White, Harper, Tate and Randall --  hit at least one 3-pointer. Reinke’s first 3-pointer of the season put OC ahead 12-2 with 14:26 left in the first half.

OC led 35-25 after Talley hit two free throws with 1:01 left in the first half, but Perry knocked down a 3-pointer before halftime and the Patriots opened the second half on a 14-3 run. A 3-pointer by Charles Allen with 15:09 gave DBU a 42-38 lead.

Down 44-40, Harper’s 3-pointer ignited a 9-0 OC spurt that regained the lead for the Eagles. OC looked to be in control, up 59-51 after Reinke’s three-point play with 6:40 left, but the Eagles scored just one point during the next 4:48. Perry’s 3-pointer with 2:50 left tied the game at 60-60.

Reinke hit two free throws with 1:52 left to break the tie, and Fox went 1-of-2 from the line with 1:21 left, pulling DBU within 62-61. The teams traded baskets before Talley missed an open layup and the Patriots rebounded with 10.6 seconds left.

They worked the ball to Fox, but Tate would have none of it.

OC won despite shooting 34.4 percent (22 of 64) from the field. DBU shot 37.9 percent (22 of 58) and went 4-of-21 from 3-point range, compared to 8-of-25 for the Eagles.

“What I liked is that was the most zone we’ve played in a long time,” Hays said. “I thought we really worked hard in our zone and did a good job.”

Talley added 12 points and five assists for OC, while Randall had 11 points. For the Patriots, Perry scored 12 points and Allen added 10 points and nine rebounds.