Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team forced 22 turnovers and outscored Louisiana College 41-32 in the second half to seal a 73-61 victory in American Southwest Conference play on Thursday night.
With the win, Ozarks (12-8, 12-5) remains in second place in the ASC East division and heads into the final three weeks of the regular season eying one of four playoff spots. Louisiana College drops to 5-14 overall and 5-11 in ASC play. The Eagles have found ways to finish down the stretch all season, and Thursday night was no different as Ozarks went on a 18-10 run in the final 6:58 to put away the Wildcats. Ozarks clamped down defensively throughout the night and held the Wildcats to 28 percent from the three-point line. Ozarks’ backcourt duo of Scott McCall and Brad Johnson pestered the visiting guards into awkward shots and limited sharp-shooter Casey Meador to 9 points. Johnson hit two free throws to start the spurt in the second half and Habeeb Kareem followed with a pair of his own. Jacob Sibley hit a three-pointer to put Ozarks up 62-51 with 5:36 to go. Ozarks’ lead remained in double-digits the rest of the way. Ozarks never let Louisiana College take the lead in the contest, but the Wildcats did manage to cut the deficit to one point on two occasions in the game. The Eagles responded both times with lay-ups by Josh Joyner and McCall to help Ozarks gain back a three-point advantage. Kareem led a balanced scoring attack with 16 points. Johnson finished with 15 points and Josh Joyner hit for 11 points. Kareem had a team-best 9 rebounds. Johnson added 6 steals to his school career steals record. Morey Skluzacek paced Louisiana College with 22 points. The Eagles will host Mississippi College on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.