The X-Men may be superheroes on the silver screen. But they’ve got nothing on Muskogee’s X-Man.
Junior Xavier Brown took over the game in overtime scoring all nine of the Roughers’ points in a thrilling 56-54 win over Bartlesville at Ron Milam Field House Tuesday night, launching the Lynwood Wade era on a successful note.
“I knew that both teams were in foul trouble so I knew if I could drive and make contact, I knew I could draw a foul or maybe get a bucket or both,” said Brown. “It’s a good start to the season. It wasn’t a pretty win, but we got it and that’s what’s important.”
The game was as close as the score would indicate. Neither team led by more than five points and Muskogee nursed a two-point lead at the end of the first, second and third quarters.
But the Bruins scored eight unanswered points to open the fourth quarter to grab a 42-38 lead and maintained that margin until the Roughers tied it up at 44-all on a 3-pointer by Peyton Clark with 1:38 to play.
James Brown put Muskogee up 47-46 on an old-fashioned three-point play with 37 seconds to go. Bartlesville tied it as Shane Simpson hit one-of-two charity tosses with 25 ticks left.
Both teams had a chance to forge ahead in the final seconds. But James Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one for Muskogee and Caden Davis missed a pair of free throws for Bartlesville with five seconds left to send it to OT.
The X-man then took over hitting a pair of driving baskets and five-of-seven from the free throw line to secure the win.
For the first game with a new coach and new philosophy, coach Wade was pleased to get the W.
“I think we did some good things for our first game and, yes, we’ve got some things to work on as well but those things will smooth themselves out as we continue to work hard,” said the Muskogee alum. “I think we really stood up. When it was time to play defense and come up with some big steals, we got it done.”
Xavier Brown led all scorers with 23 points while James Brown also got into double figures with 12 points for Muskogee. The Bruins put three players in double numbers with Simpson and Adam Nakvinda both notching 14 points while Cole Hicks had 11.
The Roughers will have some time to enjoy their season opening win as they’re off until next week.
Bartlesville 57, Muskogee 49
The Lady Roughers also broke in a new coach Tuesday night as Jeremy Ford takes over, but too many fouls gave the Lady Bruins a big edge at the charity line and they were able to escape with the win.
While Bartlesville shot just 12-of-50 from the field, it was 23-of-33 from the free throw line, gaining a 15-point edge over Muskogee, which was 8-of-14.
Despite a decided height advantage, Muskogee hung tough with the Lady Bruins, going into the half time locker room tied at 24-all. But Mary Cole scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the third quarter to open up a 39-34 lead.
The Roughers would get within a point a couple of times, the last at 42-41 early in the fourth quarter before Bartlesville cashed in on 7-of-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
Though they came up short, Ford was pleased with the effort his Roughers gave.
“We battled and the girls fought hard. The effort and energy were certainly there,” he said. “The first game jitters kind of got to us late and there are some things we have to correct on both offense and defense but that was expected. We’ll get better.”
D’Asia Brown was the leading scorer for Muskogee with nine points while Bianca McVay and Dezaray Burton had eight points each.
Muskogee will next be in action Thursday in the Tahlequah Tournament.