Special to The Sun
Another home game that went down to the wire went against Central Oklahoma yet again Tuesday night at Hamilton Field House.
The Bronchos dropped a heartbreaking 80-78 decision to near-by rival Oklahoma Christian when the Eagles’ Kendre Talley made two free throws with less than a second left to play.
Two Josh Davis foul shots had tied it at 78-all with nine seconds remaining, but the Bronchos were whistled for a foul at 0:00.3 as Talley drove to the basket. He made both charity tosses to break the final deadlock and hand UCO its third straight home loss by three points or less.
It was the fifth consecutive defeat overall for the Bronchos, who fell to 1-5 on the season.
UCO trailed most of the game and was down by as many as nine in the second half before rallying to take a 56-55 lead on two Christian Huffman free throws at the 11:19 mark.
The Eagles went back on top 30 seconds later, pushed its lead back to eight (64-56) with 7:59 left and were still up by five (77-72) with just 1:12 remaining.
Again the Bronchos came back, getting a fast-break layup from Jamell Cormier at 0:59 to make it 77-74 before Davis got a steal and was fouled on the other end. He drained both freebies to cut the deficit to 77-76, with Talley making one of two free throws at 0:27 to up OC’s lead to 78-76.
Spencer Smith rebounded Talley’s second miss and Davis was fouled trying to muscle in for a layup at 0:09. The senior forward calmly swished both foul shots to tie it and the game appeared headed for overtime until the final whistle sent Talley to the line.
Josh Gibbs scored a game-high 24 points to lead UCO, hitting 10-of-15 shots with a pair of 3-pointers while adding eight rebounds. Davis (17 points) and Smith (15) each made three treys and Cormier chipped in 13 points, six rebounds and six assists.
The Bronchos led only once in the first half, at 5-4 on a Davis 3-pointer. OC held a series of nine-point leads before back-to-back Smith layups helped pull UCO within two at 40-38, but the Eagles scored the final five points to take a 45-38 lead into the break.
It was Central’s final game before beginning Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association next Dec. 6 at Pittsburg State.