Special to The Sun
ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Cal Andrews hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to give Central Oklahoma the lead and the Bronchos hung on to clip Lindenwood 78-75 here Saturday afternoon.
It was the third straight Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association victory for UCO, which improved to 6-8 on the year and 4-2 in league play. The Lions dropped to 9-4 and 2-4.
The Bronchos used the long ball to overcome an eight-point deficit early in the second half and did it again late in the game to rally from five points down in the final two minutes.
Andrews had the biggest, with the freshman’s trey at 0:37 putting UCO on top 76-74. LU made one of two free throws at 0:25 before Seth Heckart drained two foul shots with 21 seconds left to make it a three-point margin at 78-75.
The Lions missed two 3-point shots in the final 10 seconds, with Heckart rebounding the second to clinch the win.
“We got down a few times, but did a great job battling back and came out with a big road win,” UCO coach Terry Evans said. “We hit a lot of big shots in the second half and made some clutch free throws as well.”
Josh Gibbs led the Bronchos with 22 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 3-of-5 long-range shots. Heckart was 5-of-8 from beyond the arc in a 17-point outing while adding six rebounds, Spencer Smith finished with 11 points and Andrews ended with nine.
LU sprinted out to a quick 7-0 lead to open the game before UCO rebounded behind a pair of Smith layups in a 10-3 run that tied it and the Bronchos went ahead 20-16 on Gibbs’ layup midway through the half.
It was tied at 27-all with 3:27 left before the Lions ended with a 10-4 run to take a 37-31 lead into the break.
The deficit grew to eight (43-35) four minutes into the second half, but a quick-strike 12-0 spurt got the Bronchos back in it. Heckart started the run with back-to-back 3-pointers, Andrews followed with another trey and Gibbs converted a conventional three-point play to give UCO a 47-43 lead.
Central’s advantage reached nine (56-47) with 10:23 remaining before LU used a 14-3 run to regain the lead at 61-58. It was a 70-65 deficit when the Bronchos started their final comeback.
Jamell Cormier’s two free throws at 2:10 make it 70-67 and Heckart followed a Lindenwood turnover with another 3-pointer that tied it at the 1:43 mark. Smith answered a Lion three-point play with one of his own to keep the teams deadlocked at 73-all with 1:07 left.
LU made one of two free throws to go on top 74-73 at 0:47, but Andrews answered with the go-ahead trey and the Bronchos held on.
UCO returns home to host Northeastern State at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
BRONCHOS' LATE RALLY FALLS SHORT
Lindenwood thwarted Central Oklahoma’s late rally to hand the Bronchos an 81-77 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association setback here Saturday afternoon.
UCO used an 8-0 run to pull even at 72 with 1:57 left to play, but the Lions hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to pull away again and hand the Bronchos their fourth straight league loss.
Central, now 8-6 on the season and 1-5 in conference play, returns home Wednesday to host Northeastern State.
Alyssa Fuxa led the Bronchos, hitting 7-of-12 shots with a pair of 3-pointers in a 20-point outing. Jill Bryan added 13 points and seven rebounds and Britney Morgan 10 points.
UCO trailed by as many as nine in the first eight minutes before pulling even at 25-25 on McKenzie Solberg’s layup. Jordan Ward’s layup gave the Bronchos a 27-25 lead and it was a 43-40 advantage at halftime.
Central stayed in front the first eight minutes of the second half and was up 53-49 with 12:41 left following a Rachel New basket. LU came back with a 9-0 run to regain the lead at 58-53 at the 10:37 mark and stretched the lead to 72-64 with 4:29 remaining.
Ward started UCO’s late comeback with back-to-back layups and Savannah Hamilton followed an LU turnover with another inside bucket that pulled the Bronchos within 72-70. Hamilton then rebounded a Lion miss and Morgan converted with a layup that tied it at 72-all with 1:57 to play.
UCO couldn’t convert a couple of chances to take the lead and Lindenwood finally broke the deadlock with two free throws at 0:53 and two more 10 seconds later. Two Morgan free throws at 0:31 had the Bronchos back within two at 76-74, but a turnover and two missed shots led to five more LU foul shots and an 81-74 lead that sealed the game.