Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles turned up the defensive pressure and forced Rust College to shoot only 13-of-32 (40%) from the field in the second half en route to a 74-59 win Tuesday in non-conference play.
Ozarks moves its win streak to five, and improves its overall record to 6-3.
Rust College (4-4) jumped on the Eagles early, holding the lead for the majority of the first half. The Bearcats held Ozarks scoreless through the first five minutes of the game. Rust built a 16-7 advantage with 8:36 remaining in the half, but the Eagles eventually got back into the game, reeling off a 9-0 run over the next three minutes to tie the contest. Rust, however, went on a 10-3 spurt to gain a 26-19 lead with 3:44 left. The Eagles then battled back and went into halftime tied 28-28.
Ozarks got its first lead of the game at the 17:38 mark of the second half on Josh Odom’s shot. The Bearcats fought back with a couple of shots over the next two minutes, but it was all Ozarks after that. The Eagles outscored Rust 40-24 in the final 16 minutes of the game. Ozarks first double-digit lead came when Odom sank a three-pointer with 12:34 left. Blake Mitchem, who posted his eighth double-double of the season, ignited a vocal Ozarks’ crowd with a dunk at the 9:34 mark. Rust trimmed the deficit to single digits, 61-52, with 4:51 left, but Mitchem scored six points down the stretch to push Ozarks’ lead to 70-55 with under two minutes remaining.
Mitchem paced Ozarks with 20 points and 20 rebounds. Mitchem also blocked 4 shots. Odom scored 18 points off the bench, hitting 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Andre Williams had a solid all-around game, scoring 14 points, dishing out 9 assists and grabbing 6 rebounds.
Ozarks will host Hardin-Simmons University December 12 at 3:00 p.m. Live audio will be available at www.kxio.nu. Live video will be available at www.sportsnation360.com/schools/webcast/University-of-the-Ozarks.