Second-half 3-point shooting flurry helps Bison beat SNU
In-your-face defense in the first half and 53.8% shooting from 3-point range in the second lifted the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison to their third straight victory Monday night.
Brantly Thompson sank 6 of 11 shots from outside the arc as six different Bison knocked down treys in the Bison's 73-58 decision over the Southern Nazarene Crimson Storm in Great American Conference men's basketball play at the Noble Complex.
OBU, 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the GAC, was a cool 26.3% 3-point shooting in the first half, but warmed up to the task in the second, nailing 7 of 13 long-range attempts as Thompson converted four of those.
“In the first half, we had a lot of shots rim in and out. We just encouraged the guys to keep on shooting,” said Bison head coach Jason Eaker. “We have good shooters. Southern Nazarene has the best defensive team in the conference.”
OBU did a solid job on the defensive end, though they managed just one steal the entire night. The Bison did force 14 turnovers while having only 11 of their own. They twice forced the Crimson Storm into shot-clock violations.
“They shot at a great percentage (from 3-point territory) when we played them in Bethany last time (40% in a 65-49 SNU win on Jan. 11),” Eaker said. “Our point of emphasis was to play better defense this time.”
Harrison Stoddart added a double-double for OBU with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He also drained one trey, had four assists and blocked three shots after going over the 1,000-point barrier in his Bison career last Saturday in an 82-70 OBU win at Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant.
Nigel Wilcox and Jordan Thompson followed with nine points each Monday, Jaquan Simms finished with eight and Justin Tene tacked on seven.
The Brantly Thompson-to-Wilcox connection provided one of the most exciting plays of the night with 55 seconds to go when Thompson lobbed to Wilcox for a massive alley-oop slam directly off an inbounds pass. Earlier in the half, Wilcox made another exciting play when he slammed the ball through the hoop directly off a rebound. Brantly Thompson also collected a game-leading seven assists.
Wilcox was an efficient 4-of-5 from the floor with five rebounds, one assist and the Bison's only steal of the night. Jordan Thompson was 6 of 7 from the foul line with four boards and three assists. Simms drained two treys on the night.
Brantly Thompson's four second-half 3-pointers came within an eight-minute span. In fact, all seven of those treys came within that same stretch. Stoddart, Simms and Trey Green also landed one apiece.
OBU shot 44.8% from the floor overall and ended up at 37.5% from outside the arc for the game.
Leading 32-26 at the half, SNU scored the first two baskets of the second half to pull within two.
However, the second-half 3-point shooting barrage was triggered by Stoddart's long-range connection. Wilcox followed with a put-back conversion and Brantly Thompson drilled a trey from 23 feet to push the Bison advantage to 10 with 16:42 remaining.
From there, five of OBU's next seven field-goal makes were from 3-point land. Those treys helped keep SNU at bay.
During that span, the Crimson Storm pulled within 53-47. But back-to-back treys by Green and Thompson pushed the OBU cushion to 59-47. Only once did SNU cut the deficit to single digits (eight points) the rest of the night.
Adokiye Iyaye was the only double-figure scorer for the Crimson Storm with 20. He also canned all eight of his free-throw tries and had a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bison held a 39-36 edge on the boards.
“Holding homecourt is so important in this league. I was proud of our enthusiasm. I like the way these these guys represent all of us,” said Eaker.
OBU is at home again Thursday against Southwestern Oklahoma State at 7:30 p.m. at the Noble Complex.