Clarksville, Ark.-The U of O Eagles fought to a 64-59 win over the previously unbeaten Mary-Hardin Baylor Crusaders in American Southwest Conference crossover play in Clarksville.
The Eagles’ two minute comeback to end the game proved to be the difference as Ozarks (2-3, 0-0) would score six straight points and hold the visiting Crusaders (3-1, 0-0) scoreless in the final two minutes to gain a win in their home opener. Trailing 59-58 with 1:58 left in the game, the Eagles would score on three jumpers, including two clutch shots by freshman post Shannon Scribner to lift Ozarks to a victory. Balanced scoring and bench play was a key to the Eagles’ victory as ten different players scored in the game while 36 of the team’s 64 points came off the bench. The Eagles held a 32-30 advantage at halftime behind a balanced offensive attack and solid performances from guards Brent Johnson and Caleb Hilton. Johnson nailed two three-pointers in a two-minute span to help Ozarks to a 12-7 lead with 13:13 remaining in the first half. Hilton’s offensive spark would give the Eagles a 27-23 lead after he hit two free throws with 4:38 remaining. The Crusaders, however, chiseled into the Eagles’ lead and trailed by only two points at halftime. Ozarks closed out the first half shooting 34 percent from the field, but held a 24-19 rebound advantage, while holding the visiting team to a 40 percent shooting clip. The two teams battled to a 53-53 score in the second half before a jumper by the 6-4 Scribner gave the Eagles a two point advantage with 5:37 left to play. The Crusaders would take a 59-58 lead at the 1:58 mark on a Justin Heji jumper, but Scribner would answer the call and score four of the team’s six final points, including a basket with 46 seconds left. Scribner led the squad with 12 points and nine rebounds. Josh Joyner added 11 points. Ozarks hosts Concordia-Austin at 3 p.m. on Saturday in ASC crossover action.