Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team rallied from a 35-30 halftime deficit to record a 78-74 win over Howard Payne University in American Southwest Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Eagles are in a three-way tie for first place in the ASC East Division standings. Mississippi College and UT-Tyler also have a 3-1 league mark. ????? Howard Payne (3-3, 2-2) led by as many as 9-points in the second half, but Ozarks (3-2, 3-1) would storm back to tie the contest, 51-51, with 12:09 remaining when Habeeb Kareem hit a free throw. Over a four-minute stretch the Eagles out scored Howard Payne 11-2 thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers by Jacob Sibley and David Hamilton. Ozarks eventually took the lead for good after a Kareem basket with 1:56 left. Both Sibley and Hamilton hit key free throws down the stretch to secure the win. ????? Sophomore center Habeeb Kareem recorded his fourth straight double-double game with a 19-point, 13-rebound effort to lead Ozarks. Josh Joyner added 16 points and 6 rebounds. Sibley and Hamilton both contributed 13 points. Brad Johnson had 4 steals. ????? Ozarks has improved in the rebounding department this season as they are leading the conference in rebounding margin (+7.2). The Eagles are averaging a conference-best 17.0 offensive boards and 29.6 defensive boards per game. Kareem leads the league in rebounding (10.6). Joyner and Hamilton are averaging 4.8 and 4.2 rebounds per game, respectively. Johnson is dishing out 5.6 assists per game, fourth-best in the league. Fellow backcourt mate Scott McCall leads the ASC in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.25). ????? Ozarks will travel to Arkansas Tech University on December 10 in a non-conference match-up at 7:00 p.m.