The Edmond Sun

November 17, 2009

SPRUILL: UCO loaded for another run

Broncho guards can fill it up from 3-point range

Eric Spruill

No. 18-ranked Central Oklahoma appears to be loaded for another deep run in the NCAA Division II tournament.

It’s only November and the Bronchos have only played one game, but what they showed against Emporia State in a 116-114 double-overtime win was incredible.

They have firepower. They have competitors. They are young but they know how to win. Sophomores Shane Carroll and Tyler Phillips combined for 54 points in the win on Monday night.

Watching Carroll play at Mustang High, fans had to see a resemblance to Sam Belt — he can drain the three and has a knack for scoring down low — who happens to be one of the best players in Broncho history.

And on Monday night, the 6-4 guard did nothing but bring back not so distant memories, scoring 33 points, including a five-minute stretch where he scored 14 points. He can fill it up as evidenced by his 8-of-9 shooting from three-point range.

With the three-point shooters the Bronchos have they are never out of a contest. Heck, Eric Cazenave didn’t even play in the opener. He’s one of the premiere shooters in the Lone Star Conference.

This team has shooters everywhere. Sophomore guard Victor Driver can shoot, as can Brent Friday.

It’s hard to imagine the Bronchos ever truly being out of a game.

On Monday night it appeared that Phillips was the leader of the team. The one that wanted the ball when the game was on the line, and he came through in a big way. Clutch three’s and a pair of free throw’s with 10 seconds left sealed it for the Bronchos.

Big shots are nothing new for Phillips. The guy played on three state championship basketball teams at Oklahoma Christian School. Had a couple of teammate’s with the last name of Griffin, wonder whatever happened to those guys.

But the point is, these guys are loaded. They will surely miss Michael Sosonya’s presence down low, but a team full of guards can go a long way.