It's hard to imagine that a basketball team as talented as Mid-America Christian University is in sixth place in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
That just shows the strength of what may be the toughest conference in the country.
The Evangels came into Alexander Arena on Thursday, which has been a tough place for SAC teams to win. But Mid-America steadily pulled away in the second half for a 74-61 victory over Central Christian College as the Tigers are now 4-9 in the SAC, 11-10 overall.
Central could manage only 28 percent shooting against the long-and-athletic Evangels, who nearly the entire game had two 6-8 players on the floor that created matchup problems.
"Inside, outside, we didn't make anything," CCC coach Tony Romero said. "That put a lot of pressure on our defense, but I thought we were pretty soft. That's probably the softest we've played in a while in my opinion, at both ends of the court."
The Tigers started fast, up 12-7, but a 19-4 Mid-America run turned the tables. The Evangels were up as many as 10, but Central closed the half strong to trail only 34-30.
But a 10-2 rip to start the second half propelled Mid-America into a solid lead and the Tigers never got closer than 7 the rest of the way.
"We knew a lot of the action they were running, but they beat us because they hit us harder than we hit them," Romero said. "I thought they asserted their will a lot more than we did."
Jubril Osagie had another double-double for Central with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Cam Martin tallied 13 and TJ Williams came off the bench for 11. Kendric Warren hit the boards hard with 13 rebounds.
Justin Bogle, a talented 6-8 junior, scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Evangels.
"He's really good," Romero said. "All of their bigs are good. They can all put the ball on the floor and shoot it well."
Central hosts talented University of Science and Arts at 5 p.m. Saturday. USAO is tied for first in the SAC with defending NAIA national champion Texas Wesleyan and Oklahoma City University.
Central (61) — Warren 5, Osagie 18, Martin 13, Ard II 6, Lenard 2, Daniels 2, Williams 11, Kuminga 4.
Mid-America (74) — Rhodes 12, Horne 12, Bogle 23, Perry 4, Perkins 7, Massena 7, William 7, Sawyer 2.
• MID-AMERICA CHRISTIAN WOMEN 116, CENTRAL 68 — The Tigers have to figure out how to get off to a better start.
Once again they were buried by the end of the first quarter as the Evangels amazingly scored 36 points and used that as a springboard to lopsided win.
It was 58-28 by the half.
Holly Golden shined in defeat with 26 points. Abbie Banks furnished 14 and Ridglea Hearne tallied 10, while Vestiney Cooke was all over the glass with 15 rebounds.
Mid-America put on an amazing shooting display, making 17 of 36 from beyond the arc.
Central is now 0-13 in the SAC and 1-20 overall. The Tigers host University of Science and Arts at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Central (68) — Forsberg 5, Hearne 10, Cooke 7, Banks 14, Golden 26, Regier 3, Mefford 3.
Mid-America (116) — Shannon 10, Ozoani 9, Coffman 12, Fairley 25, Thrailkill 11, Alley 7, Denton 17, Hines 4, Thompson 16, Wilson 5.