By: Sean Ditmore/Sports Writer
On February 21 the Wayland Pioneers will look to avenge an earlier 74-63 loss against the Oklahoma City Stars. The re-match will take place in the friendly confines of the Hutcherson Center.
As of today, Oklahoma City (16-5, 12-2) leads the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) by two games over the Pioneers (14-7, 10-4). With another tough game still looming against Southern Nazarene, the Pioneers need a win to keep their hopes of a conference title alive and well.
The Pioneers, who were picked to finish sixth in the SAC’s preseason coaches’ poll, hung around against the defending champs for most of the game. However, Oklahoma City’s clutch free throws down the stretch helped them put the game on ice.
Subsequent victories over highly ranked Oklahoma Baptist and Southern Nazarene as well as a gutsy win against arch-rival Lubbock Christian have shown that the Pioneers can play with anyone in the SAC, quite possibly anyone in the country.
Following the earlier contest between OCU and Wayland, Pioneer coach Robert Davenport said his team would be “ready” for the re-match at the Hutch.
How well the Pioneers take care of the basketball will go a long way in determining their chances of victory. During the last meeting between these two teams, the Pioneers turned the ball over 23 times.
Oklahoma City took advantage of the Pioneers’ charity with the basketball to the tune of 24 points. The Pioneers were only able to convert Oklahoma City’s 13 turnovers into 12 points. The 12 point difference was about the margin of victory in the final score.
The Pioneers played pretty stout defensively last game holding OCU to 35 percent shooting. On the other hand, OCU shot 35 times from the free throw line converting on 27 of those.
Finally, the Pioneers will need to shoot better then they did during the last game, particularly from behind the three point line where they were only 4 for 16 in the last meeting. It won’t be an easy task; Oklahoma City has the sixth best defense in the nation against the three point shot.
The Pioneers will also be looking to halt a five game losing streak against OCU dating back to the 2005-06 season.