Rogers State’s Hillcats completed a successful Texas swing Saturday, bumping off No. 14-ranked Wayland Baptist, 66-64, in Plainview.

It was the Hillcats’ fifth victory in a row, and the second Top-25 victim in eight days.

In their last home game before hitting the road for Lubbock Christian and Wayland Baptist, the Hillcats ambushed No. 20 Oklahoma Baptist at the Claremore Expo.

With their second five-game winning streak of the season, the Hillcats pulled into fourth place in the Sooner Athletic Conference.

They return to the Claremore Expo on Thursday night to take on another SAC team with a five-game winning streak, USAO of Chickasha.

Senior Bryson Krueger came through with his best performance of the season Saturday, scoring 24 points, but none was as big as final two.

He hit two free throws with five seconds showing to shortcircuit a Wayland rally in the second half.

RSU led, 64-63, with 34 seconds remaining when Roderick Rodgers missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Pioneers an opportunity to take the last shot.

However, after a Wayland timeout, Rodgers stole the inbounds pass and was quickly fouled. Rodgers failed to convert the one-and-one chance a second time and teammate Eric Young fouled Tyrone Crawford while battling for the rebound. Crawford hit one of two free throws to tie the game and set the stage for Krueger’s dramatics.

Krueger drove the lane and drew a foul from Lee Berend with five seconds left. He converted both foul shots and Wayland’s final 3-point heave fell short of the rim.

With 24 points, Krueger led the Hillcats in scoring for the second straight game. He was 8 of 16 from the floor, with two 3-pointers, and 6 of 8 on free throws. He also pulled in six rebounds.

On Thursday, he scored 15 points and had six rebounds against Lubbock Christian.

By setting the pace in the two games, Krueger now has a team-leading 12.5-scoring average.

“Bryson is a guy that we thought would do what he’s been doing for us the last two or three games,” RSU coach Wren Baker said Monday.

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re playing so much better as a team.

“He’s given us something that we weren’t always getting from him in those early games — just knocking down shots when you’ve got to have them.

“You’ve got to have playmakers. He’s a senior. He’s played in big games.

“He’s just got to make big plays sometime. And, he’s been doing a much better job of that.”

Krueger is justifying the faith and confidence that Baker has placed in him. As has the team.

That was revealed in the closing minutes of the Saturday game.

RSU had seen a six-point lead evaporate and Wayland had even taken a one-point lead.

Baker did not panic, did not call a time out.

“I had enough confidence, I just let the kids play through it,” he said.

“And, we came right back and hit a three.”

It regained the lead, and the Hillcats did not relinquish it.

“I had thought real seriously about calling a timeout,” Baker said. “Then, I thought, no, we just need to let them play. You start to get a feel. You’ve been through this before, and you know what they’re going to do. You know they know what you want them to do.

“Those are good feelings to have.”

Two days before, against Lubbock Christian, the Hillcats blew a 19-point lead in the second half.

“That tells you how much difference a couple of games can make,” Baker said. “We were up 19 at Lubbock and they came back and tied it.

“I didn’t think we were going to win that game.

“Then, we’re at Wayland Baptist two days later, who’s a better team, and they come back and take a one-point lead, and I thought we were going to win the game.

“The team has gotten confidence as we’ve gone along, and the coaching staff has got confidence in the players.”

The two-game sweep enabled RSU to move to 14-7 overall and 9-6 in the SAC. It was the first conference loss at home in seven games for Wayland.

When Wayland and Lubbock Christian visited Claremore last month, it was a different story. Wayland defeated RSU, 70-61, and RSU defeated Lubbock Christian, 84-60.

Alone in fourth, the Hillcats will entertain the fifth-place team, USAO, on Thursday.



Women

Wayland doubled the score on the RSU women in the first half en route to a 75-63 win.

When the two teams met in January, the Hillcats stopped Wayland, 57-56.

The Flying Queens put together a 10-0 run midway through the first half and closed the period on a 24-7 run. They shot 50 percent in the first half while the Hillcats struggled, shooting just 23 percent, and trailed 40-20 at the break.

RSU got back on track in the second half, outscoring the Flying Queens, 43-35.

Junior Azzie Knox had a season-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting for RSU. Hayley KnifeChief added 15 points and hit four 3-pointers. However, no other Hillcat player reached double figures.

After the loss, RSU finds itself in a tie with Oklahoma Christian for sixth place in the SAC.





RSU 66, WAYLAND 64

Men

Rogers State 41 25 — 66

Wayland Baptist 34 30 — 64

Rogers State — Krueger 24, Rodgers 8, Donlon 8, Dearinger 6, Coats 6, Young 5, Reynolds 4, Spicer 3, Francis 2.

Wayland Baptist — Storey 17, Crawford 15, Berend 13, Griffin 11, Chambers 4, Jones 3, Polanowski 1.



WAYLAND 75, RSU 63

Women

Rogers State 20 43 — 63

Wayland Baptist 40 35 — 75

Rogers State — Knox 19, KnifeChief 15, Muller 8, Y.Woods 6, Parker 5, Robinson 3, Rice 3, Peterson 2, Miles 2.

Wayland Baptist — Wright 20, Coats 15, Murphree 14, Howard 7, Benton 6, Marsh 5, Okolo 4, Conrad 4.