Clarksville, Ark.-No. 16-ranked Mississippi College slipped past the University of the Ozarks men's basketball team 75-67 in a hotly contested American Southwest Conference match-up on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the loss, the Eagles (12-9, 12-6) remain in second place and have already clinched a spot in the ASC championship tournament held February 24-26 hosted by the winner of the West division. The Choctaws (19-1, 16-1) used a 13-8 run in the final 3:45 to close out Ozarks’ hopes of an upset. With Mississippi College leading 60-59 with 3:45 remaining, Choctaw Timothy Broomfield hit a jumper to ignite the rally. Mississippi College then went on to score five straight points while holding Ozarks (12-9, 12-6) scoreless over a span of nearly two minutes. The Eagles did cut the deficit to 72-67 after David Hamilton nailed a three-pointer with 48 seconds left, but it wouldn’t be enough as the Choctaws hit 3-of-4 free throws in the waning moments. Ozarks was unable to convert on their final three possessions. Mississippi College shot a sizzling 53 percent from the field, including 55 percent from the three-point line, in the first half to hold a 39-35 lead at intermission. Ozarks fought back in the second half as Mississippi College cooled off. The Eagles went up 48-45 when Chris Clark made two free throws at the 11:49 mark. After battling back-and-forth over the next five minutes, the Choctaws slowly took the lead for good with 5:56 remaining. Habeeb Kareem just missed a double-double, recording team-highs in both points (16) and rebounds (9). No other Ozarks’ player reached double figures, but an additional eight did put their name in the scoring column. Josh Joyner had 4 steals and Brad Johnson dished out 6 assists. The Eagles will host UT-Tyler on February 9.