OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 3, 2013) – Oklahoma Christian center Will Reinke poured in a career-high 35 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, but the Eagles struggled to score down the stretch, allowing No. 18-ranked Newman (Kan.) to rally for a 74-65 win Thursday night on Dan Hays Court in the Eagles’ Nest.
The loss for OC (7-5) came in its first-ever Heartland Conference home game. OC joined the Heartland Conference this season after being a member of the NAIA’s Sooner Athletic Conference since the 1978-79 season.
The Eagles led by as many as 10 points in the second half but managed only one basket in the final 7:30. OC went just 2-of-18 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range.
“The deal is, we’ve got a good team,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “We’ve got to play with poise like we’re a good team. That was the difference in the game. They really believed in themselves and they were very good down the stretch. Give them credit. They really made the plays and down the stretch, we did not make the plays.”
Reinke was outstanding, finishing 10-of-16 from the field and 14-of-18 from the free-throw line. Ten of his rebounds came on the offensive end and he also had three assists, three blocked shots and a steal. But more often than not, he ended up being OC’s only offensive option.
“We’ve got to get a little more of a sense of urgency,” Hays said. “We didn’t play bad. We haven’t played a game since Dec. 8. We just didn’t shoot it good tonight. That’s the bottom line.”
Newman (10-1) jumped to a 24-12 lead on a 3-pointer by Mike Falvo with 6:36 left in the first half and the Jets led 28-18 at the 3:55 mark, but OC closed the first half on a 10-2 run to pull within 30-28. The Eagles scored the first four points of the second half to regain the lead for the first time since the game’s early stages.
Brandon Troutman made two technical free throws, then buried a 3-pointer to put OC up 47-43 with 12:30 left. The Eagles extended their lead to 57-47 on a 3-pointer by Kendre Talley with 9:28 left.
The Jets went on a 15-4 run and took a 62-61 lead on a three-point play by Shamar Acuay with 4:27 left. Reinke put OC back ahead with a basket with 3:42 left, but Newman went up for good on a 19-foot jumper by Darrell Trayler with 3:08 left.
Acuay, who scored 14 points, and Traylor each hit a 3-pointer in the final 1:49 as Newman pulled away.
Traylor finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Newman, while Elhad Emerilahu added 12 points.
Reinke’s previous career high came last Jan. 28 against Mid-America Christian, when he scored 30 points. Against Newman, the only OC player to join Reinke in double figures in points was Nick Tate, who scored 10. OC shot 34.5 percent (20 of 58) from the field.
“You can’t win shooting 34 percent,” Hays said. “You can’t do it. You can slice it any way you want to. We played good enough defense.”