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Bison at home with Arkansas-Monticello Thursday night

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star
OBU's Jaquan Simms (left) attempts to deliver a pass as East Central University's Camron Talley leaps in defense during a recent game.

The Oklahoma Baptist University Bison hope to continue their momentum swing as they play the first of two home games to end the regular season tonight against Arkansas-Monticello in Great American Conference action at 7:30 p.m. at the Noble Complex.

OBU, 18-8 overall and 13-7 in the GAC, has won four straight and is looking to extend its streak to five tonight and to possibly six on Saturday at home against Southern Arkansas at 3 p.m. to close out the regular season.

The Bison sit all alone in fourth place in the conference and have already locked up a berth in the GAC Tournament set for March 4-7 in Bartlesville. They have a two-game lead over tonight's opponent, the Boll Weevils, who are in fifth place.

Southern Nazarene is all alone in first place at 15-5 with Southeastern Oklahoma State and Henderson State tied for second at 14-6.

OBU is coming off a two-game road sweep in Arkansas, including a 75-59 win in its last outing on Saturday at Harding, 75-59.

Graduate transfer Rashad Lewis poured in 23 points, including four treys, and four assists as he was named GAC Co-Player of the Week on Monday. Junior Harrison Stoddart followed with 15 points. Senior post Dishon Lowery had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and junior Jaquan Simms supplied 10 points and six boards.

Arkansas-Monticello enters tonight's play with a 19-10 overall mark to go with its 11-9 conference record. The Boll Weevils are coming off a 73-71 home loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State, despite the 25-point performance from 6-7 junior Justin Slocom. Marcus Gilbert added 14 points for UAM in that game while KJ Lesure and Austin Hardy chipped in 11 apiece.

Lesure is the Boll Weevils' top scorer with an 18.8 average, followed by Gilbert at 14.0, Slocom at 13.6, Hardy at 12.1 and Denzel McDuffey at 10.4. McDuffey and Slocom have 7.9 and 7.0 rebounding averages respectively. UAM's top four scorers are seniors while McDuffey is a junior.

The Boll Weevils are shooting 47.1% from the floor for the season, including 37.1% from 3-point territory, and 74.9% from the free-throw line.

Simms has been the Bison's top scorer this season at 12.5, followed by Lewis at 12.2, Stoddart at 11.5, Lowery at 10.2, 6-3 freshman Jarius Hicklen at 9.0 and 6-4 junior Brantly Thompson at 8.5.

OBU is shooting 45% from the field for the season, 35% from outside the arc and 72% from the charity stripe.

When the Bison and Boll Weevils met on Jan. 25 in Monticello, Arkansas, OBU came away with an 80-77 win as Hicklen nailed four clutch free shots down the stretch. Hicklen finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists in that contest. Simms and Lowery each tallied 17 for the winners. Lesure was UAM's top scorer at 23 while Hardy added 15.

On the women's side the Bison will be playing for pride in their final two games, both at home.

The UAM women are 17-9 overall and 12-8 in the conference and have locked up a postseason berth.

Berniezha Tidwell, a 5-8 senior, leads the Cotton Blossoms with a 16.2 scoring average, follwoed by 5-6 junior Mackenzie Tillman at 10.6, Mekaylan Hicks at 8.5 and Kayla Bradley at 8.3.

In its last game, UAM routed Southeastern Oklahoma State at home, 62-44, behind Tidwell's 28 points and 12 rebounds.

For OBU, Mackenzie Cooper owns a 13.5 scoring average, Jaylin Stapleton is at 11.1 and Ugochinyere Nwarie is at 9.2.

The Bison women, 5-21 and 1-19, were on the short end of an 86-64 road loss at league-leading Harding.

The Boll Weevils blitzed OBU by an 80-30 count in their earlier meeting.

Following tonight's game, the Bison women host Southern Arkansas at 1 p.m. Saturday to close out their season.