OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (December 14, 2013) – Eli Baker's first double-double of the season anchored Lubbock Christian to an inaugural 87-77 Heartland Conference victory over Oklahoma Christian on Saturday, while Tyler Rogers' shooting perfection accounted for 17 points and paced five Chaps in double figures.
Baker's 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks filled up the stat sheet, along with 16 points from AJ Luckey, 13 by Quay Johnson and 11 more from Isaac Cardona. Rogers' points came from a flawless 7-of-7 from the field and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. The Chaps were an impressive 18-of-20 from the free throw line and outrebounded the much taller Eagle frontline, 36-27.
The Chaps (5-2, 1-1) did not take their first lead of the game until Rogers drilled a three-pointer at the 11:04 mark in the second half for a 58-57 edge. Another bucket by Rogers, a putback off of a Johnson miss, put the Chaps up two more. A strong move by Cardona in the paint resulted in a score, but a three-point play by OC's Kendre Talley tied the game at 62-all with over seven minutes remaining.
Anthony Brancato made the most of his minutes in the second stanza, converting on a baseline drive and making a three from the wing to put the Chaps up 69-65. A steal and upcourt pass by Ridrell Holman led to a fast break layup from Luckey, and Brancato hit another big three to put LCU in control at 76-65 with 3:29 to go. The Eagles pulled to within six on a Talley drive with 66 seconds remaining, but OC's foul strategy did not do them any favors, as the Chaps went 10-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final minute to ice the win.
The Eagles (4-5, 0-1) started the game with torrid shooting, hitting eight of their first 11 shots to jump out to a 17-6 lead seven minutes into the contest. The Chaps were on the other end of the spectrum, only scoring on three of their first 10 attempts. A layup by OC's Jordan VanDeKop put the Eagles up double figures at 19-9 before Jeremy Ford answered with a shot of the glass. A three-pointer by Willie Harper pushed the Eagles out in front at 22-11 with 11 minutes on the clock, but Rogers put together two three-point plays on strong moves at the hoop and Johnson hit two free throws and a shot from deep for an 11-3 LCU run in three minute span.
Rogers continued his inspiring play, taking a charge on the defensive end and scoring on a cut to the basket on a pass from Johnson. Another nice dish from Johnson, this time a shovel pass to Baker under the basket, gave LCU two more points to trail OC 32-29 with four minutes left in the first period. Talley hit a trey to double OC's lead at 35-29, and Baker and VanDeKop traded baskets to keep the Eagle lead at six. Cardona stepped up and hit a three-pointer from the left corner with a minute-and-a-half left to cut the deficit in back to three. Harper's hot hand hit another shot from beyond the arc with 49 ticks left on the clock, leaving the Chaps with enough time for one possession before the buzzer. Baker misfired underneath and the ball was batted around by players on both side before Luckey grabbed hold of it and threw up a fade away that cleanly went through the net for a 41-36 halftime score.
OC's Nick Tate led all scorers with 20 points and Harper recorded 19.
The Chaps return to action after the holiday break to host St. Mary's on January 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Texas A&M International on January 4 at 3 p.m.