CLAREMORE — Lubbock Christian broke the hearts of Hillcat fans on Valentine’s Day as the Chaparrals bested Rogers State, 61-57, Thursday evening at the Claremore Expo.
RSU led by as many as 18 points in the first half of play. But the Cats scored just nine points in the opening 14 minutes of the second half to trail by nine points.
J.C. Hartzler looked to fill the void of an injured Kendrell Thompson in the opening stanza as the freshman posted 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting helping RSU lead 35-21 at intermission.
The visiting Chaps came out hot in the second half outscoring RSU 19-6 in the first 7:28 of the period to trail the Hillcats, 41-40. The scoring continued for LCU and RSU was unable to find its rhythm as the Chaparrals led 44-53 for what cumulated to a 32-9 run over 14 minutes to open the second half.
A dribble drive assist by Robinson Odoch Opong to Justynn Hammond for an easy lay-in trimmed the deficit to 57-55 for RSU with 1:51 to go. LCU’s Jevvon Hunter answered with an offensive put-back to build the Chaps lead out to four with 1:11 on the clock.
Ken Holdman drilled a pair of free throws and a defensive rebound by the Hillcats gave RSU the ball with 10 seconds remaining. An isolation drive and subsequent layup attempt by Justynn Hammond was blocked by Eli Baker. The Chaps AJ Luckey was fouled and nailed both free throws for the 61-57 LCU win.
Lubbock Christian (13-7, 6-6) forced RSU into 11 second half turnovers as the Hillcats finished with 16. LCU’s Baker finished with a double-double leading all scorers with 16 points and pulling down 11 boards. Luckey and Jamaal Crayton added 11 points apiece as the Chaps shot just 29 percent from three-point.
Alex Ewings led the Hillcats in scoring with 13 while Hartzler didn’t attempt a shot in the second half finishing with 11. Hammond totaled 11 points for the night as RSU shot 48.8 percent from the field in the loss. The Hillcats went 0-for-5 from three-point finishing shooting 33 percent.