Newman’s barrage of 3s dooms Eagles in 80-63 loss

Willie Harper scored 20 points for OC in a loss at Newman.
Willie Harper scored 20 points for OC in a loss at Newman.

WICHITA, Kan. (Jan. 31, 2013) – Oklahoma Christian walked into the proverbial buzzsaw on Thursday night at Fugate Gymnasium against Heartland Conference rival Newman (Kan.).

The Jets, who last week dropped consecutive games for the first time all season and then fell out of the NCAA Division II men’s basketball rankings, rebounded in a big way. Newman went 13-of-26 from 3-point range and rolled to an 80-63 win over the Eagles.

OC (12-7) had a four-game winning streak snapped after shooting just 31 percent (18 of 58) from the field, including 22.2 percent (4 of 18) from 3-point range. Willie Harper scored 20 points and Will Reinke added 16 for the Eagles, but they never came within double digits of Newman (15-3) in the second half.

“Number one, they’re a real fine team,” OC coach Dan Hays said. “They just outplayed us and had more energy and hit 13 out of 26 threes. We did a great job against their press, but you can’t win against a good team shooting 31 percent. That seems real easy, but it’s a simple game.”

It was a ballgame for a while. OC led 22-21 after a driving reverse layup by Kendre Talley with 8:01 left in the first half.

Marquis Cuyler followed with a 3-pointer to give the Jets the lead for good, starting a 20-4 run by Newman. Frankie Drayton had eight points in that run, including a pair of 3-pointers. He finished 4-of-5 from behind the arc.

A 3-pointer by Darrell Traylor (3-of-4 from long range) gave the Jets a 41-26 lead with 2:44 left in the first half and OC came no closer than 10 points the rest of the way. Newman led 45-33 at halftime.

The Eagles were still within striking distance, trailing 69-57 with 5:31 left. Nick Tate missed a 3-point attempt that could have cut that margin to single digits, and Drayton and Ryan McCarthy made OC pay, making consecutive 3-pointers to push the margin to 75-57 with 4:16 left.

“They’re good,” Hays said. “There’s a reason they’ve only lost two games here in three years.”

Reinke, who had 35 points and 16 rebounds in the first meeting between the teams this season, went 6-of-8 from the field but struggled with foul trouble, playing much of the second half despite picking up his fourth foul with 16:32 left.

The margin could have been more lopsided had OC not gone 23-of-27 (85.2 percent) from the line and outrebounded the Jets 42-38, led by a 12-rebound performance by Devan White.

“We rebounded well,” Hays said. “For as many shots as we missed, they should have had a whole lot more rebounds than us.”

Shamar Acuay led Newman with 15 points, while Drayton had 14 and Traylor had 11.