Buffaloes outscore Bulldogs, 17-6, in overtime period
The win lifts WTAMU to 6-0 on the year, marking the first time the Buffaloes have opened a season with six consecutive wins since doing so at the start of the 1997-98 Elite Eight campaign. The loss drops SWOSU to 6-3.
The Buffaloes, normally a 79 percent shooting team from the foul stripe, hit just 61 percent for the evening, but came on in the overtime period, hitting 11 of 12 free throws as they outscored the visiting Bulldogs by a 17-6 margin.
“Anytime you take a win in overtime it’s good,” said WT head coach Rick Cooper. “SWOSU is a very good, very well coached team. That makes this a very good win for us.”
“We shot a lot more free throws than what SWOSU did. I’m hoping most of those were towards the end of the game. We did force a lot of turnovers and that usually leads to fouls, as well. We didn’t play bad, early in the game…SWOSU had a lot to do with that.”
Jacquiese Holcombe (Sr-1L, College Park, Ga.) jump-started WT in overtime, hitting a pair of free throws and tapping in a LaDarius Hall (Sr-1L, Thomasville, Ga.) miss.
Lionel Foster (Jr-TR, Houston, Texas) then hit a short jumper to put the Buffs up by six points, 70-64, with 2:10 showing on the clock.
The Buffs continued applying the defensive pressure, as Hall stole the ball from SWOSU’s Ross Moore and, after being fouled, proceeded to hit two free throws.
SWOSU’s Chancellor Jones hit a pair of free throws to close the score to 72-66 with 1:46 to play.
From that point, the Buffaloes were content to run the clock. David ‘Chubby’ Henderson drew a foul with 1:20 to play. He hit the second opportunity to put the Buffs ahead by a 73-66 margin.
Hall put the wrapping on the game when he rejected Charleston Flemmings’ lay up attempt. From that point, it was just a matter of taking care of the ball and hitting free throws.
The game was tied, 48-48, as late as the 7:18 mark of the second half before Joe Mincey (Sr-1L, Brunswick, Ga.) gave the Buffs a one point lead, hitting the front end of a two-shot free throw opportunity.
Alex Davis (Sr-1L, Milwaukee, Wis.) then blocked a shot by SWOSU’s Leon Nelson and fed Mincey, who was fouled driving to the bucket.
Mincey again made one of two free throws to give the Buffs a 50-48 lead at the 6:55 mark.
WT forced another empty Bulldog possession, with Nelson missing a short jumper. Hall snared the rebound to start a Buffalo break. The end result was Davis’ draining a three-pointer from the far corner, pushing WT’s lead to 53-48 with 6:23 remaining in regulation.
SWOSU came back on a pair of Chancellor Jones free throws and a lay in by Leon Nelson to pull within 55-52. They took a 55-53 lead when Jamere King drilled a three-pointer from the left wing with 3:55 to play.
A pair of Foster free throws with 3:22 remaining in the half tied the game and broke a 3:19 scoring drought for the Buffs.
The Bulldogs opened a four-point lead on a pair of Moore free throws and a jumper by Nelson
WT’s Foster answered with a driving layup to pull the Buffaloes to within 59-57.
Hall then blocked a layup attempt by Moore and Little tied the score, 59-59, with a layup on the other end.
SWOSU’s Chancellor Jones put the ‘Dogs ahead with a free throw, only to have WT’s Foster again squirted through the SWOSU defense to hit a layup.
SWOSU answered with a Gregory Richardson tap in with 1:20 remaining, taking a 62-61 lead.
With WT trailing by one point, Holcombe was fouled driving the lane. He tied the score, hitting the front end of the two shot opportunity. After missing the second end, guard Rod Little (Jr-TR, Moss Point, Miss.) alertly grabbed the rebound and the Buffs called time out with 34.6 seconds to play.
The Buffs couldn’t get a good shot, with Hall missing a lunging 15-footer. SWOSU rebounded the loose ball, but the Buffs forced a jump ball and retained possession with just 2.1 seconds on the clock.
Inbounding the ball at the far end of the floor, Davis hit Foster at the top of the key, but Foster’s turnaround three-pointer glanced off the front of the rim, sending the game into overtime.
The first half saw WT lead by five points in the games early minutes, while SWOSU led by as many as six points, as they held a 25-19 lead at the 6:20 mark.
From that point, WT’s Donnie Kidd (Sr-1L, Fallon, NV) then hit a layup off a Foster steal to close the gap to 25-21. Rod Little made a lay in at 5:13 to narrow the gap to two points. Following a Bulldog bucket by Ty Pace, Little then made another lay in to pull the Buffs to within 27-25 at 4:43.
Mincey then picked Chancellor Jones of the ball, feeding Foster for the game-tying bucket at the 4:17 mark.
Neither team led by more than two points the rest of the half, with the Bulldogs holding a 34-33 halftime lead, courtesy of a Charleston Flemmings steal and layin with two seconds remaining in the stanza.
“Lionel Foster and Rod Little are starting to grasp what we’re looking for at our guard position,” Cooper said. “Lionel had five assists, but he also had five turnovers and that’s something we need to work on.
“LD (LaDarius Hall) also had a good night, offensively, and he had some big rebounds for us down the stretch.”
Foster paced the Buffs, offensively, with 18 points, while Little added 17 and Hall had 15. Holcombe was WT’s leading rebounder, with eight. Foster, Mincey and Courtney Carr each had five rebounds apiece.
The Buffs shot 44 percent from the floor and committed just 13 turnovers while forcing 22 SWOSU turnovers. WT hit 61 percent from the line, but was 78 percent in the overtime period.
The Bulldogs were led by Chancellor Jones’ game-high 22 points, while Ross Moore contributed 14 points. Jones also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
As a team, SWOSU hit 38 percent from the floor, while shooting 83 percent from the line.
The Buffaloes next outing will be Thursday, Dec. 9, when they host Rhema Bible. Tipoff at the First United Bank Center is set for 7 p.m. CST.