Special to The Sun
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. —
Josh Gibbs scored a season-high 27 points and Central Oklahoma rode its outside marksmanship to an 85-80 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association victory over Truman State here Thursday night.
The Bronchos shot an amazing 72.2 percent from long range in hitting 13-of-18 shots beyond the arc, but UCO’s second straight league win wasn’t secure until the final seconds.
Jamelle Cormier hit two pressure-packed free throws with four seconds left and the Bronchos clinging to an 81-80 lead, with a quick turnover and Seth Heckart layup at 0:02 clinching the victory.
UCO improved to 5-8 on the season and 3-2 in the MIAA with the victory.
“Anytime you can win a game on the road in this league you’ve done something right and we played well tonight,” UCO coach Terry Evans said. “We got a lot of good looks at the basket and guys were knocking shots down. We made some big plays down the stretch and came out with a great win.”
Gibbs was 9-of-15 from the field with two 3-pointers in his 27-point outing while adding a team-high seven rebounds and four assists. Freshman Cal Andrews drained 5-of-6 attempts from long range in a 15-point outing and Heckart had three treys in scoring 13 points.
UCO led 49-40 at halftime, but the Bulldogs opened the second half with a 10-1 run to tie it and eventually went ahead 58-57. The Bronchos went back in front 66-58 before Truman used an 11-2 run to go back on top 69-68 with 7:26 remaining.
A Cormier layup and three-point play by Gibbs put UCO ahead to stay and the Bronchos extended their lead to 78-71 on two Spencer Smith free throws with 3:26 left.
Truman pulled within 78-77, but one free throw by Gibbs at 0:39 and Heckart’s layup at 0:22 made it 81-77 before the Bulldogs got within a point on a three-point play at 0:07 to set the stage for UCO’s late heroics.
The Bronchos fell behind 7-1 in the opening minutes, but Gibbs had five points in a 15-5 run that gave UCO a 16-12 lead and it became a 10-point advantage at 27-17 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Heckart and Andrews.
UCO’s lead peaked at 14 (39-25) on another Heckart trey before the Bronchos settled for their nine-point halftime cushion.
Central continues its road trip Saturday, taking on Lindenwood at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in St. Charles, Mo.
UCO women take lopsided loss
The worst shooting game of the season led to a lopsided loss for Central Oklahoma here Thursday as Truman State handed the Bronchos a 72-39 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association setback.
It was the third straight league loss for UCO, which fell to 8-5 on the year and 1-4 in the MIAA. The Bulldogs, winning their ninth straight home game, improved to 11-2 and 4-1.
The Bronchos shot a mere 29.1 percent from the field, hitting just 16-of-55 shots. UCO was 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range and 4-of-10 (40.0 percent) from the line.
Freshman Whitney Dunn was the lone scorer in double figures with 12 points.
Alyssa Fuxa hit a 3-pointer in the opening seconds to give UCO the early lead and it was an 8-5 advantage just two minutes in on Britney Morgan’s conventional three-point play and Jill Bryan’s layup.
But the Bronchos soon went cold, hitting just one of their next seven shots while also committing six turnovers as Truman went on a 19-2 run to move in front 24-10 at the 11:18 mark.
UCO came back with eight unanswered points to pull within 24-18 and it was a 26-20 deficit at 6:21 following a Morgan layup, but the Bulldogs ended the half with a 7-2 spurt to take a 33-22 lead into intermission.
TSU put the game away in the first four minutes of the second half, going on an 11-0 run to make it 44-22 when the Bronchos missed eight straight shots — six field goals and two free throws — while turning the ball over four times. UCO got no closer than 20 the rest of the way.
The Bronchos continue their road trip Saturday with a 1:30 p.m. contest against Lindenwood in St. Charles, Mo.