It wasn’t an easy job, but Oklahoma Baptist did overcome a feisty upset-minded Friends University squad with an 80-71 win Tuesday night at the Noble Sports Complex,

The Bison (9-2), ranked 24th in the NAIA Men’s poll, struggled early from the field as Friends employed a tight defense and shot out to a 9-2 lead. OBU would bounce back and trail by as much as 27-23 late in the first half, but they put together an 11-4 run that consisted of a bucket off a fastbreak steal from Justin Williams, and a left-wing 3-point basket made at the halftime buzzer by Brent Jones.


It wasn’t an easy job, but Oklahoma Baptist did overcome a feisty upset-minded Friends University squad with an 80-71 win Tuesday night at the Noble Sports Complex,
The Bison (9-2), ranked 24th in the NAIA Men’s poll, struggled early from the field as Friends employed a tight defense and shot out to a 9-2 lead. OBU would bounce back and trail by as much as 27-23 late in the first half, but they put together an 11-4 run that consisted of a bucket off a fastbreak steal from Justin Williams, and a left-wing 3-point basket made at the halftime buzzer by Brent Jones.
That gave the Bison a 34-31 lead at the break.
“We were a little bit surprised with the defense they played,” OBU coach Doug Tolin said of Friends. “They showed all ‘man’ the entire season and they came out of that zone and did a real good job.
“Our guys were probably looking forward to (Sooner Athletic Conference) a little bit,” Tolin said, “It was probably my fault. We talk a lot about how important those conference games are, but obviously, Friends is a very well coached team and  a very competitive team.”
Jones led OBU in scoring with 20 points.
“He had the ball and I told him to catch it and go as far as you can, but I meant catch it as far as you can and pitch it to a shooter in the corner, and we had guys open in both corners, but Brent jumps up there and makes it for us. That was a big shot.”
Also in double figures were Garret Steinmetz with 19 points, Nate Brumfield, who scored 31 against Hillsdale Free Will Baptist back on Dec. 20, produced 18 and Williams got 10.
The key point to the Bison comeback came when it trailed 47-43 with 14:54 left in the game, and answered with a 16-0 run.
That featured a basket off the fastbreak by Williams and two free shots from Steinmetz.
That flurry left the Bison with a 59-47 advantage with 10:59 remaining.
“I thought Friends played hard,” Tolin said. “We got it back going up to about 15 or 18 points, then it was back to six or seven. They did a nice job against us tonight.”
Steinmetz and Brumfield took OBU on a 9-2 run for a 70-55 advantage with 7:18 left in the game.
Friends (5-8) got as close as seven, but Williams snapped the Bison out of a bit of a free throw funk with 4-of-4 shooting in the last 69 seconds to hold off the Falcons.
Romar Jones led the Friends with 19 points and Thalen Silver carded 10 OBU finished the game shooting 54.7 percent (29-of-53)  from the field and 60 percent (18-of-30) from the foul line.
“We weren’t able to shoot it as well,” Tolin said. “Brent Jones driving in there, getting to the free throw line, that was the big key, there is no doubt about that.”
Now 9-2 on the season, OBU returns to Sooner Athletic Conference action Saturday at Southern Nazarene. The Bison come back Monday to the Noble Complex to take on USAO.