BY: Dixon Land
BARTLESVILLE — The Ouachita Baptist Tigers jumped out to a big start in the first half, completing 56% of their shots, as they held on to win 72-56.
The Tigers finished at 39% from the field, making 23-59 shots in the game. They shot just 29% from the field as well. Ouachita made 21 free-throw shots, recording 78% from the stripe.
The Tigers also recorded 52 total rebounds, with 40 of those coming on the defensive end. 29 of Ouachita’s 72 points came off the bench and 34 points were recorded in the paint.
Brown led the Tigers in scoring for the game with 24 points and eight rebounds. He finished 10-16 shooting from the field. Lakee Westbrook and Mahlon Martin added ten points a piece.
Jordin Corbitt finished the game with eight total points and eight rebounds.
Ouachita started the game with the tip, which went directly into Brown’s hands, who had the open lane for an easy layup. Brown accounted for the first seven points of the game.
Midway through the first half, the Tigers completed a 16-2 scoring run, with three-point shots coming from Jontavis Willis, Martin and Westbrook.
Harding finished the half 2-11 from the field in the last five minutes of the half.
The Tigers finished the first half up 48-25.
The Tigers were efficient, making 18 of 32 shots, a big 56% from the field. They also made 5 out of 11 shots from three for 45%. Harding shot just 26% from the floor and 21% from three. Free throws did play a role in the first half with the Tigers outshooting the Bisons from the stripe 70% – 43%.
Ouachita had seven of ten players score in the first half. Brown led all scorers with 15 points, going 7-8 from the field, his only miss – a 19-foot jumper from the right side of the court. Westbrook and Mahlon Martin each added eight.
In addition, Ouachita benefited from 23 bench points and 24 points in the paint.
With the win, Ouachita gains an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Early speculation is that the Tigers might host a first-round game at Bill Vining Arena, but nothing will be known for sure until the Selection Show, which will be later tonight. Stay tuned for more information.