Rogers State University men’s basketball was able to fend off Oklahoma City for a Hillcat victory, 74-71, Saturday night inside the Donald Reynolds Center on the campus of Tulsa University.
Senior guard Deveric Taylor reached the 1,000 career point milestone on a jumper from the left elbow off an Alex Ewings assist with 11:59 remaining in the contest. Taylor quickly added to the total with another jumper to give the Hillcats a 51-50 advantage after trailing the Stars by as many as eight just three minutes earlier.
Taylor finished with a game high 18 points, putting the Dallas, Texas native at 1,007 career points.
Despite playing away from the friendly confines of the Claremore Expo, where the Cats are 10-2 this season, RSU responded well by shooting 51 percent from the field at the Reynolds Center.
RSU built a nine point lead over the first 11 minutes of the game with Matt Kellogg tallying 8 points over a two minute run. But the visitors from Oklahoma City responded, going on a 15-5 run to take the lead with 3:15 remaining in the first half capped off by a second chance bucket by Nate Flowers. OCU held the lead at 35-32 going into the intermission.
The two squads traded buckets to start the second half until Oklahoma City went on an 8-0 run over a three minute stretch to hold the lead at 50-42. Justin Barkley’s squad slowly began to chip away at the Stars lead and finally built the Hillcat lead to four, off a Chris Francis 3-pointer from the left baseline with 6:42 left in the contest.
A pair of free throws by Shane Rogers cut the Cat lead to 66-65 with 3:44 to go as the two squads spent the next three minutes trading the lead a total of five times. A bucket in the paint by Rogers gave OCU a 71-70 lead with 50 seconds remaining. A tip-in, put-back by Larry Cox off a Kellogg 3-point miss clinched the Hillcats a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. A pair of John Boyd free throws sealed the deal and put the score at its final tally of 74-71.
Boyd notched 13 points while Kellogg added 11 to round out the Hillcats double-figure scorers. Maurice Rutherford led the Cats in rebounds with eight.
RSU knocked down 10-of-22 from behind the arc but were outrebounded by the Stars 37-29.
Oklahoma City (15-9, 8-8) had five players score in double-digits led by the output of Brandon Moton off the bench with 16.