Clarksville, Ark.-The University of the Ozarks men's basketball team won a defensive battle, 50-48, over Mary Hardin-Baylor in what turned out to be a difficult shooting night for both teams on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles (1-1, 1-0) used a strong defensive effort, forcing 10 first half Crusader turnovers, to pick up an American Southwest Conference victory in their season-opener. Ozarks held Mary Hardin-Baylor (0-2, 0-1) to just six first half field goals and a 35 percent shooting clip from the field in the game. The Eagles limited the Crusaders to 13 first half points behind a swarming defense that left the Crusaders out-of-sync offensively. The Crusaders managed only four points in the first ten minutes of play. Ozarks held a 49-44 lead with forty-two seconds left in the contest, but Mary Hardin-Baylor cut the deficit to 49-46 when Brandon Gatlin hit two free throws with thirty-four second remaining. The Crusaders then dug deeper into Ozarks’ lead with Ryan Burgart’s follow-up dunk with nineteen seconds left. That would be as close as the Crusaders would get though as Mary Hardin-Baylor’s open-look three-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the rim. Both teams struggled from the field the entire game, with Ozarks ending the contest hitting 10-of-25 (40%). Habeeb Kareem paced Ozarks with 11 points and 10 rebounds. David Hamilton and Brad Johnson each contributed 10 points. Johnson also had a team-high 6 assists. Ozarks will host Concordia-Austin in ASC play on November 28 at 7:30 p.m.