Clarksville, Ark.-Ted Beard's steal and layup with less than :07 seconds left in overtime secured a 83-81 win for the University of the Ozarks men's basketball team in their home opener against Rust College on Tuesday night.
<#IMAGE:1#>Trailing 81-79 with 1:31 left, Ozarks Clint McHenry scored with :31 seconds remaining to tie the contest at 81-81. The Eagles then turned to a ball hawking defense, forcing Darnell Toy into a turnover, and allowing Beard to race down the court for a layup with just :03 second left. Neither team could push the lead to more than two points in the overtime period, despite Ozarks hitting two more field goals than the Bearcats (1-2, 0-0). Ozarks (1-2, 0-0) appeared to have control of the game in regulation when Habeeb Kareem scored four straight points to put the Eagles up 74-71 with :21 seconds left. However, Toy hit his seventh three of the night with :12 seconds left to tie the game and send the thriller into overtime. Ozarks did have the last possession in regulation, but Kareem’s jumper with :01 second on the clock just missed. The game saw 14 ties as each team seemed to have an answer for one another. In the first half, Ozarks held the lead for the majority of the time and established a 10-point advantage with 7:36 left, but Rust would go on a 20-10 run, highlighted by a DaWit Gabrakidan three at the buzzer, to eventually tie the contest at 38-38. Jeremy Clark led Ozarks with 11 points in the first half, thanks to a 3-of-3 effort from the three-point line. The second half turned into a back-and-forth battle, with eight ties, and each team answering on the offensive end. Kareem ended the game with a team-high 19 points. Clark followed with 16 points, and Tony Daniels and Clint McHenry had 13 and 11 points, respectively. Clark hit 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, helping the Eagles shoot 45 percent from three-point range. Daniels had a team-best 9 rebounds. Ozarks will begin American Southwest Conference play on Saturday when they host Howard Payne University at 3:00 p.m.