The Edmond Sun

Sports

March 18, 2008

Bronchos upset Tarleton State

Central Oklahoma men advance to Elite Eight

STEPHENVILLE, Texas – On to the Elite Eight!

Eric Cazenave buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4.5 seconds left to cap a frantic comeback that vaulted Central Oklahoma past Tarleton State 77-76 in the finals of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tuesday night.

The No. 21-ranked Bronchos outscored the No. 15 Texans 17-5 over the final four minutes to pull off the improbable victory and stun a capacity crowd of 2,448 at Wisdom Gym, earning their first trip to the Elite Eight since 1992 and only the second in school history.

It was the ninth straight win for UCO, which improved to 28-5 while ending Tarleton’s season at 25-7. The Bronchos will take on South Atlantic Regional champion Augusta State at noon March 26 in Springfield, Mass.

“These young men decided they didn’t want to lose,” UCO coach Terry Evans said. “Our guys played like they had nothing to lose and we didn’t. We took a lot of risks at the end and it paid off for us.”

The Bronchos trailed 71-60 with 3:59 left, but rallied to within 75-74 on a Cazenave layup with 21 seconds left and fouled Jeffrey Henfield with 18.8 seconds left. He missed the first throw and made the second to make it 76-75 to set up UCO’s last possession.

The Bronchos looked to free senior star Sam Belt for the final shoot, but he was covered up and found Cazenave open at the top of the key and the sophomore sharpshooter’s high-arcing trey found nothing but net.

Tarleton quickly inbounded the ball and raced downcourt, with Marlin Cloudy getting off an off-balanced 3-pointer with one second left that bounced off the back iron as the horn sounded.

“We wanted to get the ball to Sam at the end,” Cazenave said. “He’s our go-to guy, but that didn’t work and when I caught it I had a good look at the basket so I put it up and it went in.”

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