The men’s basketball team earned its first Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) win of the season with a 105-98 overtime victory versus the University of the Southwest (USW). The Saints improve to 6-9 overall and 1-4 in the RRAC. The Mustangs fall to 6-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
The Saints were 18-6 against USW in the all-time series prior to the game today.
The first half was very competitive on both sides. The Saints held a slight lead until five minutes remaining when Southwest battled back for a five-point advantage. OLLU responded and tied the game 45-45 just before halftime with a tip-in by Cedric Cook (FR/Houston, Texas). The Saints shot 51.7 percent from the field backed by 14 points from Ruben Monzon (SR/San Diego, Calif.). The Mustangs also shot well from the field at 50 percent. Both teams shot 12-of-14 from the free-throw line.
There were multiple lead changes in the second half and the last two minutes were intense. The Saints led by six points with less than a minute remaining. Pearce Mack made a layup for the Mustangs, but Oscar Maldonado (JR/Greeley, Colo.) made two free throws after USW was forced to foul. The Saints’ six-point lead was quickly diminished to three with a three-point shot from Khaire Williams with 13 seconds left. Williams hit another three-point bucket with less than 10 seconds to send the game to overtime.
The Saints used the Mustangs’ comeback to fuel an impressive overtime frame. OLLU jumped out to a six-point advantage with just more than one minute left. The Mustangs were forced to foul and the Saints stayed disciplined at the free-throw line to close out a 105-98 victory.
Monzon led the Saints with 29 points, followed by Joseph Anderson (SR/Houston, Texas) with 15. Jordan Embry (SR/Paris, Texas) grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and added 13 points to earn a double-double. Anderson also led the team with four assists.
USW was led by Tae Brown with 20 points. Brown also led the Mustangs with eight rebounds. Latarryus Smith contributed a team-high three assists.
Inside the box
OLLU combined for 34-of-75 shooting for 45.3 percent, 5-of-20 from three-point range for 25 percent and 32-of-42 from the free-throw line for 76.2 percent.
USW combined for 37-of-71 from the field for 52.1 percent, 9-of-23 three-pointers for 39.1 percent and 15-of-20 from the charity stripe for 75 percent.
The Saints grabbed 41 rebounds while the Mustangs gathered 43. OLLU forced 22 turnovers and committed 13.
The Saints face Jarvis Christian College at home on Jan. 22 at 4 p.m.