ABILENE, Texas (Jan. 10, 2013) – Takoby Jackson had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four steals and McMurry (Texas) was clutch from 3-point range and the free-throw line in overtime, allowing the War Hawks to hold off Oklahoma Christian 69-63 on Thursday night at Kimbrell Arena.
OC (8-6) scored the final five points in regulation to force overtime and led briefly in the extra period, but consecutive 3-pointers by Antonio Bell and Jackson put McMurry (9-2) ahead. Kaylim Noel and Bell each hit a pair of free throws in the final 23.1 seconds to hold off a final burst by the Eagles.
McMurry, like OC, is new to the Heartland Conference this season, as McMurry is making the transition from NCAA Division II into Division II. Both teams also are members of the National Christian College Athletic Association’s Central Region, lending importance to the two regular-season matchups between the foes.
OC center Will Reinke, the reigning Heartland player of the week, struggled offensively most of the game, going 4-of-11 from the field, but still led the Eagles with 16 points and tied his career high with 17 rebounds. But only one other OC player – Willie Harper, who had two late 3-pointers and scored 13 points – reached double figures.
The Eagles committed 18 turnovers and hurt themselves at the free-throw line, shooting 68 percent (17 of 25). McMurry also outrebounded the taller Eagles 43-40. OC shot 38.5 percent (20 of 52) from the field.
“I’ll take responsibility,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “But we’re just not playing the way we need to play. We end up shooting the ball decently, but we just made silly plays. We’re running over people. We’re not playing smart in traffic. We’ve just got a lot of work to do.
“I’m disappointed, because I thought a veteran team would do a little bit better job than this. We’ve just got a lot of work to do. They’re good guys. They work hard. I’ve just got to do a better job of coaching.”
Brandon Troutman hit three 3-pointers in the first half to help OC to a 24-23 halftime lead. McMurry opened the second half on an 8-0 run to go up 31-24, but OC answered with an 11-3 spurt and went ahead 35-34 on a layup by Harper with 10:05 left.
Bell hit a 3-pointer to start a 7-0 run for the War Hawks, who never trailed for the rest of regulation. McMurry led 52-47 with 1:46 left, but Kendre Talley’s three-point play with 1:18 left and a pair of free throws by Harper with 27.9 seconds left tied the game. Jackson missed a shot at the buzzer for McMurry.
OC took its only lead of overtime on an opening basket by Reinke. Bell and Jackson followed with their 3-pointers to put McMurry ahead for good. Noel hit another 3-pointer with 47 seconds left to put the War Hawks up 63-57. Harper hit a pair of treys in the final 26 seconds but those weren’t enough.
McMurry, playing without leading scorer Kenny Williams for the second straight game, also received 17 points and five assists from Bell, 11 points from Noel and 10 from Alfred Perez.
Thursday’s game marked the first meeting between OC and McMurry since the 1976-77 season, when both schools were members of the Texoma Conference.