SHAWNEE — The start of the second half of the Oklahoma Baptist men's basketball season needed a strong second half but the unranked Bison toppled No. 5 Evangel 80-69.
The loss avenged an 82-75 EU win in Springfield, Mo., in November.
Down 43-36 at halftime, OBU amped up the energy and won a game after trailing at halftime for the first time this season. The Bison won the second half 44-26.
After scoring the first seven points, the Bison fell behind 8-7 four minutes into the game. Evangel led by as many as 10, 40-30, in the first half.
The Crusaders (7-2) shot 62 percent from the field in the first half and out-rebounded the Bison 14-9. The second half saw OBU flex some defensive muscle, slowing the EU shooting to 35 percent, including 0-8 from three-point land, and picking up the boards to the tune of 18-11.
OBU was solid in both halves shooting, knocking down 52 percent in the first half and 58 in the second.
The Bison scored the last two points of the first half and opened with the first nine of the second half for an 11-0 run to take a 45-43 lead with 16:33 left in the game. Aaron Abram and Hayden Darst had four points each in that run.
After Evangel tied the game at 45-45, OBU scored the next 10 with five different Bison scoring to complete a game-changing 21-2 run.
The Crusaders whittled the lead down to four with 9:13 left, but Abram and Cale Jackson hit three-pointers to bookend a Morris Woods basket to get the lead back to 65-55 with 7:02 to go.
Evangel got no closer than six from there and the final 11-point margin matched OBU's biggest lead.
Abram led the Bison with 22 points and seven rebounds while Cale Jackson added 19 points and six assists. Hayden Darst had 17 points to go with four blocked shots.
Kendall Parks contributed six assists.
Zack Kleine led the Crusaders with 31 points with JJ Williams putting in 17.
Now 6-4, the Bison face another NAIA Top 5 challenge Thursday at 8 p.m. with Southwestern Assemblies of God visiting the Noble Complex in both team's Sooner Athletic Conference opener.
Note: Report provided by Ray Fink, OBU's sports information director.