By Rhane Jeffress/Sports Information Director
The Pioneer basketball team had a mission going into Thursday night’s Sooner Athletic Conference game against St. Gregory’s University.
The Pioneers lost to the Cavaliers on two last second free throws in the first meeting of the season between the two teams, and Coach Robert Davenport’s team wanted to show that the better team did not win that December game. Mission accomplished … and by a score of 89-75.
“Our guys felt like they had a little something to prove tonight (Thursday),” said Davenport after the game. “We didn’t play a very good game up there, and the guys wanted to show they were better than that.
“The big key for us was getting off to a good start. We shot the ball well tonight. It was a physical game, and I was proud that we maintained our composure.
“We changed our defensive strategy a little bit, pressuring the outside and trying to force turnovers. That resulted in quite a few lay-ups for them, but we were able to limit the offensive boards, which is something we didn’t do up there, and that made a big difference."
WBU Senior forward Tony Jones had a career high 19 points in the game and dished out five assists. Jones and junior wing Lee Berend, who finished with nine points, were both a perfect three-for-three from beyond the arch. Michal Polanowski contributed 14, and Danny Storey, who was held scoreless in the first half, came back to score 12 points in the final period to go with his 12 rebounds.
The Pioneers took a 46-32 lead into the dressing room at the intermission after shooting 59 percent from the field, including eight-of-11 from the three-point line.
After Jason Griffin’s jumper to start the second half, Storey scored six straight as part of a 12-3 run to increase the margin to 23. The Cavaliers (7-10, 5-5) never got any closer than 15 the remainder of the game.
The Pioneers, who finished the game shooting 55 percent from the field, won the battle of the boards, 38-23, and converted 16 offensive rebounds into 19 second chance points. WBU also scored 24 points off of 13 St. Gregory’s turnovers.
Davenport’s team (11-6, 7-3) is now in a three-way tie for second place in the SAC following the win. One of the teams the Pioneers are tied with is sixth-ranked Oklahoma Baptist, which lost in overtime last night to Lubbock Christian.