PLAINVIEW, Texas — “The thing I'm most proud of is the guys kept trusting each other,” said Garnett, whose team rallied from a 23-point hole on Saturday before falling to then No. 1 Oklahoma Baptist. “You have to play every possession of the game and see where it takes you. The margin for error in this conference is so small between winning and losing.”
The Pioneers pulled out the win despite struggling at the free-throw line where they made just 56 percent (19-of-34). Wayland shot 42 percent (28-of-67) from the field, including 4-of-13 (31 percent) from 3-point range.
“We missed some free throws and didn't always execute, but they kept playing,” Garnett said. “It wasn't always pretty, but we found a way to make enough stops at the right times and manufacture enough baskets.”
Wayland got 20 points from Hazelbaker, 17 from Hatcher, 15 from Thompson and 11 from junior Travis Payton, who also pulled down a season-best 10 rebounds from his point guard position for the first double-double of his WBU career.
“Multiple guys stepped up and made plays,” Garnett said. “We have to do it by committee, and I think that's the best way to do it.”
The Evangels were paced by Charlie Shorter's 18 points, four below his average that's second in the SAC. Angelo Lewis ended with 15 points and 15 boards as MACU outrebounded Wayland, 54-45.
“When you look at your schedule in this conference, none of the games make you feel good,” Garnett said. “You have to do everything you can do to scratch and claw to get a win.”
The coach knows the Pioneers can't afford to enjoy the victory long as they take on No. 22 Oklahoma City at 3 p.m. Saturday. The Stars (8-1, 1-2) fell to Lubbock Christian on Thursday, 81-71 in overtime.
“The win goes into the standings and you have to get it out of your mind and get ready for the next one,” he said. “You have to make sure you stay in the moment, and our next moment is Oklahoma City.”