CHICKASHA, Okla. — Central Christian College’s men’s basketball team didn’t win on Saturday against undefeated University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, but for the second straight game the Tigers proved they can play with anybody.
Coming off Wednesday’s tough loss to Mid-America Christian, a Top 25 team during the preseason, the Tigers didn’t let that disappointment deter them as after trailing 30-25 at halftime, they battled back to take the lead. But a couple of turnovers late in the game allowed the undefeated Drovers — who are receiving votes in the national poll as they are now 9-0 — to escape with the one-point win, 70-69.
“We competed hard,” Central coach Tony Romero said. "Much like last game, we had the lead late and made some poor decisions in our offensive execution. Defensively, we got lost a couple times late in the game. If we want wins in conference, we need to understand that each possession holds significant value. I am proud of the effort and the guys executed the game plan well, we just need to find ways to correct mistakes at the end of games."
Jubril Osagie, who was held in check last game, exploded with 30 points to lead the Tigers. Paul Ard II added 16 and Steve Kuminga tallied 10.
The Tigers are finally home for a Sooner Athletic Conference game on Tuesday when they entertain John Brown University of Arkansas. Central is 0-2 in the SAC and 5-3 overall.
Central (69) — Osagie 30, Ard II 16, Kuminga 10, Martin 7, Warren 4, Williams 2.
USAO (70) — Smith 15, Scott 13, Parmer 12, Peterson 11, Foster 9, Tahaoul 6, Robertson 3, Shepard 1.
• USAO women 81, Central 42 — The Sooner Athletic Conference hasn’t been kind to Central so far.
The Tigers are now 0-2 in the conference and 1-9 overall after being outscored 38-18 in the first half and it didn’t get much better in the second half.
Holly Golden led Central with 12 points as the Tigers committed 30 turnovers. USAO is now 6-1 in the conference.
Despite the loss, CCC coach Marc Golden saw some things that make him believe better days are ahead.
“We made some small strides tonight," Golden said. "We held our opponents to just 12 points in the second quarter and we outrebounded them by 1. We tried to slow the pace of the game down, but our shooting challenges and USAO's solid defense was too much for us today." He praised the play of freshman Kassidy Forsberg saying, "Kassidy was outstanding before she eventually fouled out."
Central is home on Tuesday to take on John Brown University.
Central (42) — Forsberg 9, Travino 7, Mefford 1, Banks 7, Golden 12, Regier 1, Cooke 5.
USAO (81) — Worthy 14, Hill 11, Ely 12, Holcomb 6, Bass 17, Johnson 3, Bean 2, Jeffrey 6, Alexander 8, Coffey 2.