CHICKASHA, Okla. — The Central Christian College men's basketball team is still looking for their first conference win of the season after falling to the USAO Drovers on Saturday, 70-69. The Tigers led the Drovers late in the second half, but faltered down the stretch to fall to 5-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.
The USAO men's team has been one of the hottest teams in the NAIA, coming into Saturday’s game at 7-0. They have big wins over Tabor College, Oklahoma Christian University, and the NAIA's preseason No. 2 team, LSU-Alexandria. The Tigers went toe to toe with the Drovers holding them to 70 points, their lowest total of the season.
The Drovers led the Tigers 30-25 after the first 20 minutes of action. In the second half, the Tigers outscored the Drovers 44-40, but it wasn't enough to overcome the five point halftime deficit. The Tigers played well for much of the game, but in the final minutes of the second half, they had a couple of costly turnovers that allowed USAO to comeback and steal the victory.
The Drover comeback ruined a beautiful scoring performance by the Tigers' Jubril Osagie. After struggling to just four points on Thursday night against the Mid America Christian University Evangels, Osagie came out and put up 30 against the Drovers on Saturday. His 30 points came on 14 of 24 shooting from the floor, including 2 for 6 from 3-point land. He was joined in double figures by Paul Ard II who added 16, and Steve Kuminga who chipped in 10.
"We competed hard", said Central head coach Tony Romero. "Much like last game, we had the lead late and made some poor decisions in our offensive execution. Defensively, we got lost a couple times late in the game." Romero concluded his thought on Saturday's performance saying, “If we want wins in conference, we need to understand that each possession holds significant value. I am proud of the effort and the guys executed the game plan well, we just need to find ways to correct mistakes at the end of games."
Next up for the Tigers is their SAC home opener, Tuesday evening, at 8 p.m. against the John Brown University Golden Eagles.