Big Second Half Lifts Eagles to Win Versus OCU
With AsburyEagles.com writer Matthew Hunter
WILMORE, Ky. - Asbury took the first matchup of the annual Zweifel/Pritchett Classic 78-68 after outscoring Ohio Christian University 43-29 in the second half.
Hot shooting from the Blazers, including 8-13 from three, and eight Eagle turnovers allowed OCU to bounce out to a 39-35 lead after the first stanza. Blazer sophomores Evin Bartlett and Danny Schrock did not miss a single attempt from long range as Bartlett hit 2-2 and Schrock hit 3-3. Despite being outscored by 24 points from beyond the arc in the first half, AU remained within striking distance.
A good effort in the rebounding category held the Eagles in the game during the first 20. Nine offensive rebounds led the way for Asbury in a 21-16 rebounding edge. Before the break, the hosts clawed back with a 10-4 scoring advantage to pull within four.
Similar to the end of the first, AU began with a 10-4 run just before the half’s first timeout. After the pause, the Eagles continued to spread the run to 20-8 taking a 55-47 lead with 12 minutes remaining. A key to Asbury’s success in the second 20 was the perimeter defense against the Blazers. After hitting eight threes in the first, AU shut down their perimeter shooting forcing the away team to shoot 0-7 in the second.
After a back-and-forth couple of minutes where no team could pull ahead, the purple and white led 70-64 after two Kyle Lamb free throws. Lamb continued his strong play as of late with a game high 22 points, including four rebounds, and five assists. Asbury (6-2) would remain in control for the remainder of the night thanks to stellar free throw shooting after entering the bonus in the 11th minute.
Both teams showed glimpses of sloppy play after combining for 41 turnovers altogether. The winning team got good contributions from reserve sophomore Todd Jefferson, who added five points including solid interior defending. Also, freshman Tyler Smith filled the box score with10 points (career high), six boards, one assist, and one block in less than 12 minutes of play.
To go along with Smith, junior CJ Penny added 11 points despite sitting out the majority of the first half with foul trouble. Seniors Dakotah Euton and Lee’Vaughn Morris had strong games respectively with eight points and eight boards from Euton, and 10 points and 11 boards from Morris.
Freshman Lawrence Parsons led the way for OCU (5-7) with a team high 15 points to go along with six rebounds. Other contributors for the Blazers included junior Wesley Russell with eight points, eight rebounds, and seven assists. The visiting squad also had two other double-digit performers in Bartlett (12 points) and Schrock (11 points).
The Eagles will play the final matchup in the Zweifel/Pritchett Classic after defeating the Blazers for the ninth straight time to take on Welch College at 6 p.m.