Haynes’ Career-high 30 Points Leads HSU to an 89-86 Win Over NWOSU

Courtesy HSU Athletics Department

Melvin Haynes scored a career-high 30 points to lead Henderson State to an 89-86 win over Northwestern Oklahoma, Saturday at the Duke Wells Center in Arkadelphia, Ark.

The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Reddies as Henderson State improved to 9-6 overall and 4-5 in the Great American Conference.

NWOSU, 7-8 and 5-4, led the entire first half with the help of 57 percent shooting from the field. Daryl Glover scored 13 of his 28 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Rangers built a 42-37 halftime lead.

Henderson State opened the second half outscoring the Rangers 6-1 with Jonathan Fitzgerald tying the score at 43-43 with 18 minutes remaining in the game. 

However, NWOSU went on an 8-0 run before Haynes hit one of his eight 3-point field goals to end the Ranger surge. Haynes’ bucket jump-started the Reddies as the home team fought back and gained the lead for the first time at the 9:23 as Haynes busted another trifecta. 

From that point on there were six lead changes and eight ties as the two teams continued to excite the crowd with an exhibition of 3-point shooting.

With the game tied at 72-72, the game looked to come down to free throw shooting. The Reddies missed on their next five attempts from the charity stripe, but Henderson’s defense would not allow the Rangers to take advantage of the Reddie miscues.

Fitzgerald finally ended the streak of missed free throws by sinking two freebies to give Henderson an 83-80 lead with 1:43 left in the game. NWOSU’s Marshall Bell then answered with a trey to tie the score 13 seconds later. 

Fitzgerald, who scored 17 points to go along with six rebounds and five assists, gave the Reddies the lead for good as the junior from West Memphis converted a three-point play driving the lane for a bucket and hitting the free throw with 1:12 left in the game.

After a pair of free throws by NWOSU’s Eze Akwari, Fitzgerald hit two more free throws a minute later to push the Reddie lead back to three. With the Rangers also having a solid game from beyond the arc, Coach Doug Nicholls had Joe McCoy foul Glover to send him to the line.

Glover made the first free throw, but failed on the second attempt. HSU’s Cory Henshall came down with the rebound but had it stolen by Marshall Bell. Akwari threw up a desperation 3-point shot attempt that was rebounded by McCoy. The senior from Jackson, Miss. was fouled with 1 second remaining and proceeded to hit one of two free throws to put the game away for the Reddies.

Haynes ended his night hitting on 9-of-15 field goals including sinking eight 3-point field goals. McCoy scored 18 points and was 8-for-12 from the foul line, while an injured Andrew Ensley had a gutsy performance ending with 9 points and 4 rebounds. 

Henderson ended the game hitting on 29-of-56 shots from the field for 52 percent. The Reddies ended the game making 9-of-22 3-point field goals and 22-of-32 free throws.

Henderson State will next travel across the highway on Thursday to take on Ouachita Baptist in part one of the Southern Bancorp Battle of the Ravine. Game time at Vining Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.

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