, Muskogee, OK


February 19, 2013

One up, one down: Bacone men outlast OLLU at home; women falter

Bacone men’s basketball coach Alan Foster was looking for a wow win for his team as it comes down the final stretch of the season.

And the Warriors did just that as they avenged a 23-point defeat a month ago, knocking off the Our Lady of The Lake University Saints 104-97 in Red River Athletic Conference action Monday night at the Palmer Center.

“We played with so much more composure tonight than we did down there,” said Foster. “We knew we had to limit our turnovers and we had 18 tonight. I think we had over 30 when we played them at their place.”

The Saints ran out to a 13-2 lead in the first 3:30 of the game as they hit five shots in a row. But the Warriors steadily worked their way back and the Saints went just 8 of 32 (25 percent) the rest of the half.

Bacone took its first lead of the game, 28-27, with eight minutes to play in the half and then went on an 11-6 run to open up a 39-33 lead with just over a minute to play. The Warriors went into the locker room with a 43-40 advantage.

The Warriors (5-22, 3-17) used the play of 6-foot-6 junior Christian Smith, who scored 20 of his game high 30 points in the second half to open a lead that hung around 10 for most of the half.

The Saints (19-10, 15-6) used a half-court trap to try and force Bacone turnovers and the Warriors repeatedly broke the press resulting in easy baskets or free-throw opportunities for Smith and company.

“We came in here last night (Sunday) and worked for about an hour and made some adjustments to our press break,” said Foster. “We felt if we would not make turnovers and break the press, we would have numbers at the other end.”

Besides breaking the press, the Warriors also won the game from the charity line as the Saints were whistled for 33 fouls in the game. And it was down the stretch at the free-throw line that Derrick Thomas, who had 22 points for the Warriors, shined. With the Bacone lead down to 92-88, Thomas hit a key basket and six free throws in the final 1:06 of the game to put it away for the Warriors.

Besides Smith and Thomas, Alex Stanley scored 17 for the Warriors and Kwame Bates tallied 14. Lo’Ron Smith was the leading scorer for the Saints with 22.

“It’s a huge win for us,” said Foster. “They’re a quality team. They’ve been ranked in the top 25 at one point and you tell the kids to keep working and believing and they’ll get that “wow” victory.”

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