Special to The Sun
EDMOND — UCO MEN TOP MO. SOUTHERN
A trio of seniors playing their final regular season home game used free throw accuracy to combine for 43 points and lead Central Oklahoma to a 76-65 triumph over Missouri Southern Saturday afternoon at Hamilton Field House.
Smith had 16 points, Jamell Cormer 15 and June Carter 12 while hitting 25-of-28 free throws as the Bronchos overcame an eight-point first-half deficit to avenge an 85-77 road loss to the Lions six days ago.
UCO ended the regular season 13-13 overall and 11-7 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The Bronchos will host a first-round game in the MIAA Post-season Tournament Monday at 7 p.m. against an opponent to be determined.
“We got off to a bad start, but didn’t panic and came out with a nice win,” UCO coach Terry Evans said. “A lot of guys contributed and it was good to end with a win so we can go into the tournament with some momentum.”
Josh Gibbs scored a team-high 17 points for the Bronchos while adding eight rebounds. Smith tied a single-game school record for free throw accuracy (10+ attempts) by making all 12 foul shots in his 16-point outing, with Cormier going 11-of-14 from the line and Carter 2-of-2.
MSSU hit its first three 3-point attempts in jumping out to a quick 9-2 lead and the Lions were up 18-10 at the 12:08 mark.
The Bronchos answered back with eight straight points in a two-minute span to tie it, getting five from Gibbs and a three-point play from Smith to tie it.
The Lions led 27-26 with 5:03 remaining, but Carter made his two free throws at 3:37 to put UCO in front to stay and the Bronchos took a 34-30 lead into the break.
Carter had four points, Smith two free throws and Gibbs a fast-beak layup off a Cormier feed as UCO opened the second half with an 8-0 run to take a 12-point advantage at 42-30 and the lead peaked at 14 (49-35) on a Gibbs layup at the 14:35 mark.
MSSU got within six (55-49) at 8:45, but the Bronchos quickly regained a double digit lead and then relied on its free throw accuracy to stay safely in front the rest of the way.
BRONCHO WOMEN FALL TO MSU
Another late-game shooting slump ended in another frustrating loss for Central Oklahoma Saturday afternoon as the Bronchos fell to Missouri Southern 63-59 in the season finale.
UCO missed eight straight shots – four field goals and four free throws – during a four-minute stretch late in the game that turned a 57-52 lead into a 61-57 deficit and the Lady Lions ended the game with an 11-2 run to pull out their second win of the week over the Bronchos.
It was UCO’s third Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association loss of the week by six points or less and the Bronchos finished the season 9-17.
The team’s two departing seniors led the Bronchos, with Alyssa Fuxa scoring 16 points and Savannah Hamilton 11. Hamilton added a game-high eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Bronchos shot just 34.5 percent (20-of-58) from the field -- making only 1-of-11 3-point tries (9.1 percent) – and were 18-of-31 (58.1 percent) from the line with seven straight misses to end the game.
UCO fell behind 7-0 early and trailed by as many as 11 (17-6) in the first half before rallying to get close by halftime.
Fuxa had 12 first-half points and made four free throws in the final 21 seconds to pull the Bronchos within 38-36 by intermission.
UCO pulled even on Britney Morgan’s layup to open the second half and Hamilton gave the Bronchos their first lead by making one of two free throws a minute later.
Both teams struggled with their shooting, missing a combined 17 consecutive field goal attempts at one time. UCO pushed its lead to five (44-39) with four Jill Bryan foul shots and Rachel New’s driving layup made it 46-39 with 12:02 left to play.
The Lady Lions pulled even at 52 with 6:38 remaining, but Fuxa’s layup at 6:22, one Jill Bryan free throw at 5:44 and Hayley Bryan’s layup at 4:36 had the Bronchos on top 57-52.
That’s when UCO went cold and the Lady Lions took advantage.
UCO TENNIS STAYS UNBEATEN
Unbeaten Central Oklahoma pulled out a trio of three-set singles wins and rallied for a tough 7-2 win over Southern Nazarene Saturday afternoon.
The Bronchos trailed 2-1 after the three doubles matches, but got three-set wins from Antonella Rossini, Petra Pesic and Rose Cabato in storming back to take the victory and improve to 5-0 on the season.
“We always have tough matches against this team and I knew we would need to play our best today,” UCO coach Natalya Nikitina-Helvey said. “I’m proud of my team for the way they responded after dropping two doubles matches.
“The match could have gone either way, but we fought hard and pulled off all three-setters in singles. It’s a great win for us and we’re excited to start our MIAA competition against another tough opponent in Northeastern State Tuesday.”
The Bronchos got to Tahlequah Tuesday to face the RiverHawks in their first-ever Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association contest at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Laura Klingert and Ilga Racika-Racko combined for UCO’s lone doubles win, an 8-2 triumph at No. 3, but the Bronchos swept all six singles bouts to pull out the win.
Rossini earned a 7-5, 1-6, 12-10 victory at No. 1, Pesic won 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 at No. 2 and Cabato prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 at No 4 to key the comeback. Klingert and Racika-Racko both lost just one game in rolling to easy wins, while Alina Gorina won 6-3, 6-4.
UCO 7, Southern Nazarene 2
No. 1 – M. Andrianova/M. Shipilova, SNU, def. Antonella Rossini/Rose Cabato, UCO, 8-6.
No. 2 – D. Boliver/K. Kotova, SNU, def. Petra Pesic/Alina Gorina, 9-8.
No. 3 – Laura Klingert/Ilga Racika-Racko, UCO, def. N. Moreno/P. Bergmann, 8-2.
No. 1 – Rossini, UCO, def. Andrianova, 7-5, 1-6, 12-10.
No. 2 – Pesic, UCO, def. Moreno, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
No. 3 – Gorina, UCO, def. Bolivar, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 4 – Cabato, UCO, def. Shipilova, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.
No. 5 – Klingert, UCO, def. Kotova, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 6 – Racika-Racko, UCO, def. Bergmann, 6-1, 6-0.
LOPEZ, WRIGHT PACE UCO TO WIN
Edgar Lopez had a dominating eight-inning outing and Jared Wright hit yet another home run to pace Central Oklahoma to a 6-1 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association victory over Northwest Missouri Saturday afternoon at Wendell Simmons Field.
Lopez allowed just three hits and one run in eight innings while striking out 10 and Wright homered for the third time in four games as the Bronchos evened their record at 4-4, both on the season and in the conference.
The two teams return for an 11:30 a.m. doubleheader Sunday to complete the three-game series that was moved from Maryville, Mo. to Edmond because of weather.
“It was a good, clean game for us,” UCO coach Dax Leone said. “Edgar really pitched well, our defense was solid and we did some good things at the plate.”
The Bronchos took a 1-0 lead in the second when Robbie Hoffman led off with a single, advance to second on Cesar Wong’s sacrifice bunt and scored on an error.
UCO bumped that to 4-0 in the third on Wright’s three-run dinger. Tyler Crabtree singled to lead off the inning and Matt Johnson drew a one-out walk before Wright went deep to give the Bronchos a comfortable advantage.
The Bearcats got their lone run in the bottom of the third, with the Bronchos adding two unearned insurance runs in the eighth.
Lopez improved to 2-1 with the win, while Jake Tuck threw the last inning.
Crabtree, Wright and Huffman had two hits apiece to pace UCO’s 11-hit attack.
3 HOME RUNS BOOST BRONCHOS PAST ILLINOIS-SPRINGFIELD
No. 9-ranked Central Oklahoma used the long ball to cruise to an easy first-game win before dropping a one-run decision in the nightcap in splitting a doubleheader with Illinois-Springfield Saturday afternoon.
The Bronchos cranked out three home runs in an 11-3 run-rule rout in the opener before the Prairie Stars pulled out a 3-2 second-game victory.
The Bronchos took control quickly in the first game, umped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning. Nicole Workman started the onslaught by blasting a long grand slam over the left field fence, while Hannah Justus and Ally Dziadula added run-scoring singles.
UIS scored once in the third and twice in the fourth to pull within 7-3, with UCO pushing across four runs in the fourth to regain control.
Brooke Zukerman had a three-run homer and Hayley Hudson a solo shot in that inning as the Bronchos made it 11-3 en route to ending the game after five innings on the eight-run rule.
Workman earned the pitching win, with Dziadula (three hits) pacing UCO’s 10-hit attack.
The Bronchos took a 1-0 lead in the nightcap on Workman’s RBI single in the third, but UIS scored three runs in the top of the sixth and UCO managed only Workman’s run-scoring single in its final at bat in falling short.
Workman, Dziadula and Kacie Edwards had two hits each for the Bronchos. Amanda McClelland earned the tough-luck loss in the circle despite giving up just two hits while striking out 10.