Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team let go of a 37-31 halftime lead as Austin College handed the Eagles a 74-69 setback in their season-opener at the Austin College Tournament on Friday.
The Eagles (1-0, 0-0) held a first half lead for the final five minutes of play behind strong free throw shooting, and for the first nine minutes of the second half, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Kangaroos (1-0, 0-0) slowly climbed back and tied the game at 50-50 with 10:29 remaining. Prior to that, Ozarks held an 8-point advantage midway through the second half on three different occasions, thanks to a pair of jumpers by Ted Beard and a layup by Habeeb Kareem. The final 8 minutes of the back-and-forth battle saw four ties. Ozarks’ Habeeb Kareem converted a three-point play to tie the score at 69-69 with 1:13 left. Austin College, however, scored on a layup with just :26 seconds left and then hit three straight free throws to secure the game. Kareem led the Eagles with 21 points, including a 11-of-13 effort from the free throw line. Chris Clark and Ted Beard each had 13 points, and Clint McHenry added 12 points. Clark and McHenry had 10 rebounds apiece to record their first double-doubles of the season. Ozarks will face University of Dallas tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.