Clarksville, Ark.-Rust College held a 51-36 halftime lead and went on to a 84-80 win over the Eagles in a non-conference game on Monday night in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
The Bearcats built a 15-point advantage at the half thanks to a 13-5 run in the final four minutes. Habeeb Kareem’s layup with 4:42 remaining cut the deficit to 38-31, but Rust would force three turnovers and hit a number of the free throws to take momentum back.
In the second half, Ozarks (8-13, 5-10) battled back to within single digits behind the three-point shooting of Tyler Mitchell, Andre Williams and Blake Belford. The trio hit a combined six three’s, one of which by Belford would give Ozarks a 69-65 lead with nine minutes left. Belford would strike again with 3:52 remaining to give the Eagles a 73-71 advantage. However, following Belford’s trey, the Bearcats would finish the game out scoring the Eagles 13-7.
Kareem recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mitchell had 17 points, and hit 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Williams went for 10 points and Belford finished with 9 points. Chris Williams had 11 rebounds off the bench.
Ozarks will host Mississippi College on February 14 and Louisiana College on February 16. Saturday’s game will be “Senior Day” as all senior basketball players and their families will be recognized after the women’s game.