Special to The Sun
MARYVILLE, Mo. —
Josh Gibbs scored five of his career-high 30 points in a 34-second span midway through the second half to give Central Oklahoma the lead for good and the Bronchos went on to edge Northwest Missouri 81-77 on the road Saturday.
UCO led the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association contest by seven (79-72) with 3:16 left, but scored only one Seth Heckart free throw in the next three minutes as the Bearcats pulled within 80-77.
Northwest Missouri couldn’t force a turnover after making a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to get within that three-point margin and Cal Andrews sealed the big road win by making 1-of-2 foul shots with 14 seconds remaining.
“That was a great win for us,” UCO head coach Terry Evans said. “It’s always tough on the road, but we shot the ball extremely well from outside and beat a really good team.”
Gibbs once again led the way as the senior star finished 8-of-17 from the field with five 3-pointers and 9-of-10 from the line in his career-best 30-point outing. He also had game highs for rebounds (14) and assists (six) in recording his NCAA Division II-leading 12th double-double of the season.
Aaron Anderson had another stellar all-around game with 18 points, eight rebounds and five assists as he made 7-of-11 shots with a pair of 3-pointers. Andrews finished with four treys and 15 points.
Central Oklahoma, now 9-3 on the season and 3-2 in the league, shot a sizzling 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from beyond the arc. The Bearcats fell to 8-5 and 3-1.
The Bronchos started hot, nailing four 3-pointers early in jumping out to a 21-7 lead six minutes into the contest. UCO was still up by seven (37-30) with 4:20 left in the half before Northwest Missouri went on a 15-3 run to seize a 45-40 halftime advantage.
The deficit was eight at 52-44 early in the second half before Anderson scored eight straight points to pull the Bronchos even at 52-all and it was tied again at 59-59 when Gibbs put UCO ahead to stay with his five-point outburst.
He nailed a 3-pointer at the 10:44 mark to break the deadlock and followed a Bearcat miss with two free throws at 10:10 to up UCO’s lead to 64-59. Back-to-back treys by Heckart and Andrews pushed the lead to 10 (72-62) with 7:22 left and the Bronchos hung on at the end.
UCO, both men and women, return to Edmond Wednesday to host Missouri Southern and open a four-game league homestand.
Cold outside for Bronchos in women’s contest
Poor outside shooting led to a tough road loss for Central Oklahoma as the Bronchos fell to Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association rival Northwest Missouri, 78-72.
UCO made just 4-of-28 attempts from 3-point range (14.3 percent) and that inaccuracy — coupled with 59.6-percent field goal shooting by the Bearcats — was too much for the Bronchos to overcome.
“We just couldn’t make any shots,” said head coach Guy Hardaker, whose team shot 38.1 percent overall. “We got some good looks and didn’t knock ‘em down. We played hard and gave ourselves a chance at the end, but couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Bronchos, playing their first game since Dec. 21, fell to 7-5 on the season and 2-3 in the league. The Bearcats improved to 4-7 and 1-3.
Jill Bryan led Central Oklahoma with a career-high 28 points while adding five rebounds and four steals. Britney Morgan and Julia Mason scored 14 points apiece, with Mason also pulling down eight rebounds.
The Bronchos trailed most of the game and were down eight (66-58) with 5:30 left to play before rallying to make it close at the end.
Morgan hit a rare 3-pointer for UCO at the 5:01 mark to cut the deficit to five at 66-61 and it was 67-63 after Mason’s layup with 3:15 remaining.
Bryan followed a Northwest Missouri bucket with one free throw at 2:17 and a Chelsea Robinson steal led to two Bryan foul shots at 1:58 to make it 69-66. The Bearcats turned the ball over again on their next possession and Mason drained two charity tosses with 1:21 left to pull UCO within one at 69-68.
Northwest Missouris pushed the lead back to 71-68 with two free throws at 1:17 and the Bronchos couldn’t answer back. UCO had a turnover and missed shot on its next two possessions and the Bearcats hit four straight foul shots to put the game out of reach.
The Bronchos trailed by as many as 11 (29-18) in the first half, but got five points from Bryan in a 14-2 run to surge in front 32-31 before Northwest Missouri took a 37-34 halftime advantage and Central Oklahoma never regained the lead.