Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles made things look easy in the first half holding a 15-point lead only to see Hardin-Simmons rally and escape with a 75-74 win Saturday in American Southwest Conference play.
Ozarks (6-4, 4-1 ASC) led 24-9 at the 11:38 mark of the first half behind the inside play of forward Blake Mitchem and a trio of perimeter players. Mitchem scored 8 of his 17 first half points during that stretch and Andre Williams and Colby Woolverton each hit three-pointers. Josh Odom’s jumper at the 11:38 mark appeared to put Ozarks in control of the contest. However, Hardin-Simmons (1-5, 1-3 ASC) went on a 22-9 burst to cut it to 33-31 with 3:58 left in the half. The Cowboys then took their only lead of the first half when Ryan Carlson drilled a three-pointer with 1:08 remaining. Carlson’s shot put Hardin-Simmons ahead 40-38 at the half.
The Cowboys never let go of the lead in the second half thanks to its seven three-pointers, none bigger than the one Carlos Singer hit with 59 ticks on the clock. Singer’s three gave the Cowboys a 75-70 advantage, and proved to be the difference because Woolverton made a jumper with 35 seconds left to get Ozarks within 75-72. Williams would sink both of his free throw attempts with six seconds left to make it a one-point game. The Eagles would send Hardin-Simmons to the free throw line with five seconds remaining and get the rebound on their first attempt. Odom found Williams in the corner for a three-pointer at the buzzer, but the shot hit off the rim, giving Hardin-Simmons their first win of the year.
Ozarks tied the game three different times in the second half, with the latter coming when Jerard McGinty hit a shot with 6:29 remaining. But Singer would hit another three-pointer, this one coming at the 2:13 mark, to give the Cowboys a five-point advantage.
Mitchem had 21 points and 13 rebounds. Williams finished with 17 points and Woolverton and Odom ended with 12 points.
The Cowboys drilled 13 three-pointers in the win. Singer had 25 points, with 18 of those coming on three-pointers.
Ozarks will host McMurry University in ASC action December 18.