PLAINVIEW, Texas — In their first start as the top-ranked men’s basketball team in the NAIA, Rogers State’s hot-shooting Hillcats ripped Wayland Baptist, 79-58, Thursday night in a Sooner Athletic Conference contest at the Hutcherson Center.

The Hillcats sizzled from start to finish, hitting 60 percent of their shots from the floor — 29 of 48.

Eric Young showed the way for the Hillcats, scoring 15 points on six-of-eight shooting.

With five players contributing nine points or more, the Hillcats pushed their lead to 32 in the second half.

The Hillcats won their fifth straight game and improved their record to 18-1 and 12-1 in the SAC. Oklahoma Baptist, No. 5 in the rankings, remained a half-game behind RSU in the conference after a 76-64 win at Northwestern.

RSU was elevated Monday to the No. 1 position in the national coaches’ poll, the first time in the program’s two-year history. The Hillcats played up to the ranking Thursday night.

They went on an 11-0 run early in the game en route to a 34-19 lead at 3:40. They added to that for a 40-23 halftime lead on 16 of 26 shooting — 62 percent.

Then, the Hillcats opened the second half on an 8-0 run and closed with 13 of 22 shooting — 59 percent — over the final 20 minutes.

With such torrid shooting, the Hillcats had few opportunities for rebounds. They had but eight offensive rebounds, and a total of 27. Still, that was two more rebounds than Wayland managed. Sylvester Spicer, who scored 14 points, was RSU’s top rebounder with four.

The Pioneers shot a respectable 48 percent for the game, including 58 percent in the second half, but committed 23 turnovers and had three shots blocked. RSU converted those turnovers into 21 points.

RSU finishes off its Texas swing Saturday at 9-9 Lubbock Christian. Game time is 3 p.m.


Rogers State 79, Wayland Baptist 58

John Brown 88, Lubbock Christian 65

Oklahoma City 77, USAO 73, ot

Oklahoma Christian 72, Saint Gregory’s 52

Southern Nazarene 58 Mid-America 55

Oklahoma Baptist 76, Northwestern 64

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