EDMOND, Okla. (Nov. 30, 2013) – For the second straight game in the Central Oklahoma Classic, Oklahoma Christian’s opponent shot lights-out from 3-point range and the Eagles couldn’t quite keep up.
Southern Nazarene went 16 of 30 (53.3 percent) from behind the arc on Saturday afternoon and pulled away at the end for a 100-75 win over the Eagles at Hamilton Field House, sending OC (3-3) to its third straight loss just 18 days after the Eagles trounced the Crimson Storm by 15 points.
SNU (3-4) became the first team to reach triple digits in scoring against OC since Dec. 23, 2009, when the Eagles edged Northwestern Oklahoma State 102-100 in four overtimes. In a regulation-length game, no team had scored 100 or more points against OC since Central Oklahoma did so on Nov. 28, 2006, in a 104-87 win over the Eagles.
SNU hadn’t scored 100 or more points against OC since a 101-74 win during the 1977-78 season, when the school was still known as Bethany Nazarene.
Amazingly, as well as the Crimson Storm shot from behind the arc, OC still had its chances in the second half, but eventually wilted under the SNU barrage. The Crimson Storm shot a season-high 56.5 percent from the field (35 of 62) and outrebounded OC 37-26.
“They shot the ball great,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “That’s a credit to them. … You just can’t beat anybody (who shoots like that). We played great defense for 25 seconds of the shot clock and then we break down. But we’ve got four new starters and a lot of new guys. Six of our 12 are freshmen.
“We’ve just got a lot of work to do with a very young team. It’s not going to be easy but I look forward to the opportunity to work with these guys. I thought we took a step forward tonight.”
Quan Conner led SNU with 24 points and five assists, going 5 of 11 from 3-point range. Francisco Hukill went 4 of 5 from behind the arc and scored 14 points for SNU, while Garrett Butler (3 of 4, 11 points). C.J. Smith (2 of 7, 17 points, six assists) and Anton Kankaanpaa (2 of 3, eight points) each hit multiple 3-pointers for the Crimson Storm. Kankaanpaa had made just one 3-pointer all season before Saturday.
SNU hit its first 3-point attempts of the game, but OC didn’t panic and led 11-9 after Willie Harper hit two free throws 4½ minutes into the game. The Crimson Storm answered with their fourth 3-pointer – and the third by Conner – to regain the lead and they never trailed again.
Down 25-24, OC had a chance to take the lead but Nick Tate was called with an offensive foul. SNU scored the next seven points to rebuild its advantage and led 43-38 at halftime.
The Crimson Storm led 53-42 with 17:39 left before OC went on an 11-3 run that included 3-pointers by Kendre Talley, Tate and Harper and was capped by a dunk by John Moon. A 3-pointer by Tate with 14:33 left pulled OC within 58-56 and the Eagles had a chance to tie or take the lead on their next possession, but Talley lost the handle on the ball in traffic.
A 2-pointer by Smith and a 3-pointer by Hukill again extended SNU’s lead and the Eagles came no closer than five points the rest of the way.
The lopsided final margin somewhat obscured strong performances by several Eagles. Tate went 10 of 15 from the field and scored 25 points, while Talley had 16 points and four assists. Moon, forced into extended action in the second half, scored 13 points and Harper had 12. OC shot a respectable 48.4 percent from the field (30 of 62).
“I thought we came in with a good attitude,” Hays said. “I think we grew from today. The final score certainly wasn’t indicative of the game. I thought there were a lot of positives. We’re a young team. We had some fool’s gold early in the year when we were shooting so well and we were playing at home with those big crowds. We’ve just got to make some adjustments. We’ve got a game Tuesday night and hopefully we can get back on the winning track.”