By Kevin Wilson
Ike Smith scored a game-high 21 points, and Jamaal Shell hit a game-tying 3-pointer near the end of regulation to help Southwestern Oklahoma slip away with a 68-61 overtime win Saturday evening at Greyhound Arena.
Shell scored only eight points on the night for the Bulldogs (8-0) and was scoreless at halftime, but his late 3-pointer helped keep Southwestern undefeated, as it outscored the host Greyhounds 11-4 in the extra session.
The overtime period marked a change of pace, as the Bulldogs were able to use their depth and make the final charge in what had been a up-and-down game for both teams.
The Bulldogs looked on their way to a blowout early, holding the host Greyhounds without a field goal for the first 8:30. The Hounds (2-4) trailed 14-5 before mounting a comeback, keyed by a pair of Edmound Elzy 3-pointers.
The Greyhounds led for most of the contest after taking a 15-14 advantage on a Billy Austin layup, but the Bulldogs pulled to within 23-21 at halftime .with a late 3-pointer by Smith.
“I knew they were going to fight and fight and find a way,” Bulldog coach Scott Reed said of the Hound comeback. “They guard very well and with the way we were on our offense, we were fortunate the lead wasn’t greater (at halftime).”
The Hounds couldn’t hold on to a big lead in the second half, thanks to opportunistic scoring from the Bulldogs and poor shooting on offense. The Greyhounds shot 33.3 percent for the night, and could only manage 26.9 percent shooting in the first half (7-of-26).
“We take a lot of pride on the defensive end of the court,” Reed said. “They’re only the second team to get out of the 50s against us.”
That almost didn’t happen for the Greyhounds, who clinged to a 56-51 lead with 3:19 remaining. From there, and for the five minutes of overtime, Reed felt that the Bulldog bench made the difference.
“I really think depth was a big factor, primarily at the end of regulation and overtime,” Reed said. “I know (Greyhound coach) Shawn (Scanlan) is fighting injury and I think we were able to use the bench … and I think that made a big difference.”
Scanlan agreed that having fresh bodies helped the Bulldogs out, but countered that the Hounds didn’t help themselves with mental mistakes.
“I think if you’re going to talk about fatigue, you’ve got to talk about mental fatigue,” Scanlan said. “I think that fatigue brought us down mentally.
“You just don’t leave a guy open to give him a chance to hurt you,” Scanlan said of Shell’s late 3-pointer. “We didn’t account for him one time and he hurt us.”
Only eight played for the Greyhounds, and seven played at least 25 minutes, led by Jamaal Hunnicutt with 39 minutes.
“Jamaal Hunnicutt played a lot more than he needed to in the second half. We’re kind of in a position where he’s got to. We don’t have a lot of other options.”
Hunnicutt was one of three in double figures for the Greyhounds with 12, while Elzy and Irshaun Pinckney each had a team-high 14.
Lee Kirkpatrick scored 15 for the Bulldogs.
The Greyhounds host Oklahoma Panhandle Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs return home for a Tuesday tilt against Midwestern State.
SW Oklahoma 68, ENMU 61, OT
Southwestern Oklahoma (8-0) — Jamaal Shell 3-8 1-2 8, Jon Gunn 2-5 0-0 5, Lee J. Kirkpatrick 7-9 1-2 15, Lonnie Cooks 2-8 3-5 7, Ike Smith 7-8 5-6 21, Malcolm Overton 1-4 0-0 3, Darron Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Alex Robles 3-4 0-0 7, Marcel Justin 0-1 0-0 0, Davy Easterling 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-49 10-15 68.
Eastern New Mexico (2-4) — Jamaal Hunnicutt 4-10 4-7 12, Edmound Elzy 6-7 0-1 14, Jolen Montoya 0-6 3-4 3, Irshaun Pinckney 3-13 7-8 14, Billy Austin 1-4 1-2 3, Reggie Wallace 2-10 1-1 5, Jason Breland 3-6 2-2 8, Chad Donnell 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 19-57 20-27 61.
Halftime — Eastern New Mexico 23, Southwestern Oklahoma 21. End of regulation — tied 57-57. 3-pointers — Southwestern Oklahoma 6-19 (Smith 2-2, Gunn 1-1, Robles 1-2, Overton 1-4, Shell 1-5, Cooks 0-5), Eastern New Mexico 3-16 (Elzy 2-3, Pinckney 1-3, Breland 0-1, Austin 0-2, Montoya 0-3, Wallace 0-4). Rebounds — Southwestern Oklahoma 37 (Smith 7), Eastern New Mexico 29 (Hunnicutt 8). Assists — Southwestern Oklahoma 17 (Gunn 4), Eastern New Mexico 10 (Austin 3). Total fouls — Southwestern Oklahoma 20, Eastern New Mexico 13. Fouled out — none. A — 350.