Clarksville, Ark.-The Eagles held a 44-43 halftime lead and then played close with No. 9 Mary Hardin-Baylor for the first 15 minutes of the second half before the Crusaders finally pulled away for a 90-78 American Southwest Conference win Thursday.
Ozarks (2-9, 0-8 ASC) put a scare into the Crusaders (11-0, 7-0 ASC) behind 25 points and nine rebounds from Ronnie Dodd. The Eagles led for most of the first half and played well enough to win until the final stretch of the game. In the first half, Ozarks rode Dodd’s 17 points, while outrebounding the much bigger Crusaders 24-23. Mary Hardin-Baylor held a brief lead around the 12-minute mark, but never could establish any momentum. Ozarks held a four-point cushion on a number of occasions, including a 25-21 advantage following Dodd’s three-pointer at the 8:21 mark. The Eagles largest lead (five points) of the first half came when Dodd made a bucket with 2:10 left.
Mary Hardin-Baylor did gain some momentum early in the second half after taking a 54-50 lead. But Ozarks eventually went ahead 58-56 at the 13:32 mark. Ozarks never held the lead again even though it got within one point three times after that. A Marcus Bobb inside shot pulled Ozarks within 76-73 with 4:41 remaining, but the Crusaders finished out the game on a 14-5 run.
Bobb finished with 18 points. Joshua Clark gave the Eagles a spark off the bench with 13 points. David Robertson added 12 points.
Ozarks will host Concordia University Texas January 7.