Claremore Daily Progress

November 24, 2012

No. 21 Evangel roars past No. 5 RSU, 72-59


SHAWNEE — The No. 5 Rogers State men’s basketball team’s unbeaten streak ended on Friday night as No. 21 Evangel (Mo.) tallied a 72-59 victory over the Hillcats at the Oklahoma Baptist Classic.

The Hillcats win streak ends at seven-straight. In the program’s brief six-year history, RSU is winless inside the Noble Complex. The contest was a rematch from the Round of 16 at the NAIA National Tournament a year ago where the Hillcats registered a come-from-behind 69-63 win over the Crusaders.

RSU started strong in the opening stanza, building a 13-2 advantage in the first five minutes of the half. Ken Holdman led the charge with six of the Cats 13 points. The Hillcat lead was short-lived as the Crusaders struck back with a 21-5 run over seven minutes to take a 24-20 advantage. RSU cut the deficit to a bucket but EU reeled off a 10-0 burst and held the lead the rest of the half, taking a 38-29 advantage into intermission.

The second half began much like the first 20 minutes as RSU charged out of the gate with a 12-2 run to take a 41-40 lead with 16:09 to go in the game. The score was knotted three times before the Crusaders took the lead for good. The Hillcats cut the EU lead to five points with three minutes to play but the Crusaders went on a 6-0 run thanks to a trio of buckets by EU guard J.J. Williams, making it  an 11-point game. Zack Kleine sealed the win for EU with a pair of made free throws with 32 seconds to play, giving the Crusaders their seventh straight win.

The Hillcats were led in scoring by Donald Williams and Holdman with 15 points each. RSU shot 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from the free throw stripe.

Kleine and J.J. Williams led the Crusaders in scoring with 15 points apiece. EU won the battle on the boards 33-27, grabbing 30 defensive rebounds.

Rogers State (7-1) looks to regroup and return to its winning ways on Saturday as the Cats take on Northwood (Texas) at 7 p.m. in Shawnee, Okla. at the OBU Classic. The game will be broadcast live on the Hillcat Network at and on RSU Radio 91.3 FM.