CLAREMORE — Over the previous five years the No. 5 Rogers State men’s team established a record of 5-0 on Hillcat Homecoming and Saturday the streak stretched to six with an 81-69 victory over Northwestern Oklahoma State inside the Claremore Expo.
Five senior guards combined for 75 of the Hillcats 81 points Saturday afternoon led by Kendrell Thompson. The Houston, Texas native totaled 19 points to lead all scorers. Ken Holdman fouled out with 3:13 remaining but not before tallying 18 points with four steals for RSU.
Alex Ewings contributed 15 points off the bench as Donald Williams finished with 14 despite shooting 2-of-5 from behind the arc. Justynn Hammond returned from illness that prevented him from playing earlier in the week to add nine points for the Hillcats.
RSU entered the intermission holding a tight 34-30 advantage over the Rangers, a former foe in the Sooner Athletic Conference. But NWOSU, in its first year of transitioning to NCAA Division II status, struggled with the transition to the second half as RSU missed just one shot over the first eight minutes of the second stanza. The Hillcats finished the game hitting 60 percent from the field including 41.2 percent from 3-point range.
NWOSU was able to trim the Cats advantage to just two points with 4:29 remaining. RSU answered though by closing out the game on a 13-3 run for the 81-69 victory.
Jonathan Freemyer led the Rangers with 18 points as three others reached double figures for Northwestern Oklahoma State (0-1). NWOSU shot 43.1 percent the field but connected on just 4-of-14 from behind the arc. The Rangers out-rebounded the Hillcats 38-27 as RSU snagged just one offensive rebound.
Rogers State (3-0) travels to MidAmerica Nazarene in Olathe, Kan. Tuesday for a 7 p.m. tip, the first ever match-up between the two teams. Live broadcast of the game will be available on RSU Radio 91.3FM, www.rsuradio.com and the Hillcat Network at www.rsuhillcats.com/live.