Oct 28, 2018
Oklahoma City—The Panhandle State men’s basketball team gathered their third Sooner Athletic Conference win of the season Saturday as they defeated a nationally-ranked Oklahoma City University team on the road. The Aggies arose victorious in the 90-86 shootout with the No. 12 Stars, while the women’s team fell 80-51 in their faceoff with the 10th-ranked team in the nation at OCU.
Khallid Edwards and Breiman Alexander opened scoring for the Aggies with back-to-back threes to push Panhandle into an early lead. The pair followed up with a few good jump shots and, after a successful three-pointer from DK Sumo, the Aggies found themselves off to a solid start after the first eight minutes of play in the first period (13-5). They maintained their edge through the one-minute mark when OCU pulled a shot beyond the arc to gain their first lead (37-36) since their opening shot of the game. After sinking a free throw in the final seconds of the first half, the Stars held a 38-36 advantage going into halftime. Alexander was the game’s leading scorer with 14 points at the break.
Junior Jaedon Whitfield helped reclaim the Aggie advantage after halftime with consecutive baskets that added five points to the board in the opening two minutes. Panhandle would not relinquish their lead, allowing just one score-tie over the remaining 18 minutes. The Aggies outscored their opponents 54-48 in the second half, gaining an impressive 29 points on 34 free-throw attempts in the final twenty minutes of the game. Panhandle State now stands in a three-way tie for the fifth slot in conference standings, holding a 3-5 SAC record and sitting 8-6 on the season.
Head Coach Aaron Coombs expressed with pride, “What a win for our program! I’m so happy for our guys and how they responded after a tough loss Thursday night;” adding, “We played 40 minutes together tonight. That is more important to me than the result.” Coombs continued, “We have showed glimpses of how talented we can be, and tonight we put an entire game together.”
The Aggies averaged over 43 percent in shooting and landed 46.4 percent of shots from three-point territory. Making a huge improvement at the line, Panhandle players tallied 33 points on 40 total free-throw attempts. Alan Hodge, Jr. led the effort going 13-14 at the line and marking a game-high of 22 points on the night. Breiman Alexander finished with 20 points, taking in 18 from shots beyond the arc. Khallid Edwards added 17 points for Panhandle and hit on 8-of-8 free-throws. Owning the game’s only double-double was forward Baris Ulker who brought in 13 points and a game-high of 12 rebounds. Whitfield also earned double-digit numbers scoring ten points for the Aggies. Sophomores DK Sumo and Thomas Ellis were instrumental from the bench, with Sumo adding six points and Ellis bringing down seven boards.
Acknowledging individual performance Coombs applauded the efforts of Ellis stating, “TC [Thomas Ellis] was the MVP tonight. His 12 minutes completely impacted the game on the defensive and the offensive ends. His ability to rebounds helped turn the game, and put us over the top. I am extremely proud of his effort and fight.” He concluded, “We will enjoy this for now, but tomorrow turn our focus to the next challenge at Wayland Baptist.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams will meet with WBU on Tuesday, Jan. 15 in Plainview, Texas for two SAC contests. The Panhandle State women face another tough opponent as the Flying Queens currently stand at No. 6 in the country and No. 1 in the conference ranks. In their weekend bout at Oklahoma City, The Aggie women were down 22-8 after the first ten minutes of play. They came back with a strong-showing in the second, but still trailed 46-31 at the half. Taylor Acosta was the only Aggie to reach the double-digit mark, totaling a team-high of 15 points, all off shots from three-point range. Addison Munsch led at the boards with a game-high of 11 rebounds on the day. Panhandle State women’s basketball holds an 8-6 season record and is and even 4-4 in conference play.
Wayland Baptist also holds the top-spot in the SAC men’s basketball standings with a No. 24 ranking in the NAIA national polls. Tuesday’s games begin at 6 p.m. with the women, followed by the men’s matchup at 8. Both games can be followed along online with live stats and video links available at opsuaggies.com.
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