Blazers Knock Off Kuyper College 97-95 in Overtime
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - The OCU Men's Basketball Team headed north to Michigan to compete in the 2012 College Holiday Tournament hosted by Grace Bible College. The Blazers took on a scrappy Kuyper College team that held the #1 ranking in the NCCAA for nearly a month last season. Kuyper came out of the gate and hit big shots to take an early lead on Ohio Christian. OCU found themslelves going into the locker room at halftime with a 15 point deficit and trailing 46-31.
Coach Stockman regrouped his troops during the intermission and the Trailblazers looked to push the tempo in the 2nd half. The team responded with a remarkable run fueled by pressure defense and uptempo offense. The Blazers took a 6 point lead at 81-76 with just over 5 minutes remaining in regulation. Kuyper responded with two big three point baskets in the final minutes to tie the score. The regulation horn sounded with knotted up at 90-90.
Kuyper struck first in overtime to take a 2 point lead. The Blazers responded to tie the game with three minutes remaining. After gaining possession in the final minute, OCU called a timeout to setup a baseline out of bounds play. Wesley Russell found Kenny Cooper who scored a clutch basket to give the Trailblazers a 2 point lead. Kuyper had one final possession in overtime but it was off the mark. Devyn Benson secured the final rebound and was fouled with 2.9 seconds left. Kuyper had a last second heave that was well off the mark as the buzzer sounded, signaling OCU victorious.
OCU outscored Kuyper 59-44 in the pivotal 2nd half. OCU had six players score in double figures, led by Trey Vaughan with 21 points. Wesley Russell added 17 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals in the win. James Nelson was big in the middle with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds while also adding two blocked shots. Evan Mills tallied 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting while Kenny Cooper tossed in 11 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Freshman Treyvon Crater added 10 points on 3 of 5 shooting from the field.
"We came out sluggish in the first half and dug ourselves a nice hole," remarked Coach Tony Stockman. "We picked up the pace in the 2nd half to pull out the win in overtime but we have to start with more energy to be successful in the future."
OCU now sits at 2-1 on the young season and will play in the Tournament Championship tomorrow at 3:00 PM.