Tigers Claim Nail-Biter Over Henderson State

Courtesy Ouachita Baptist University Athletics Department

ARKADELPHIA, Ark.- It always seems to come down to the wire when the Ouachita Tigers (9-7, 5-5 GAC) and the Henderson State Reddies (9-7, 4-6 GAC) come together for the Southern Bancorp Battle of the Ravine series. The first installment of this year’s series was no exception, as the Tigers squeaked past the Reddies in a 61-59 conference victory, putting themselves in the middle of a tight conference race.

Although the Tigers led by as much as 10 in the early goings of the game, both teams settled down late in the first half and all in attendance knew that they were in for a close contest. Henderson State went on a 9-0 run with about five minutes remaining in the half, tying the game and putting themselves in prime position to take the lead heading into the locker room. The two teams battled back and forth, before the Tigers rallied out to a four point lead, which they would hold at halftime.

The second half was played fairly similar to the first, as the Tigers again jumped out to a 10 point lead. A 6-0 run by Henderson almost half way into the period put Henderson right back in the hunt again though, and from that point on it was a back-and-forth contest.

With the score tied and only 59 seconds left on the clock, Ouachita’s Michael Morris went to the free throw line, splitting the pair of shots from the charity stripe. An offensive rebound and a timeout then led to another foul from Henderson State, putting Morris back at the line. He again split the pair, giving the Tigers a two point lead with 34 seconds left. The Reddies quickly went the other way, but they missed a jumper and then were forced to foul Austin Mitchell after a defensive rebound.

Unfortunately, Mitchell bricked a pair of free throws, allowing the Reddies another attempt to tie the game, but luckily for the Tigers, Joe McCoy left his lay-up short, leading to the two point win for the Tigers.

Ouachita was led by a 20 point performance from Colt Fason. Michael Morris finished the game with a strong 15 points to complement his eight boards. Although he struggled early on, Austin Mitchell hit a pivotal three pointer late in the game, rounding out his 10 point performance.

Henderson’s Denzel Lyles put the offense on his shoulders, knocking in 19 points in the game. Andrew Ensley added eight, with Peri James netting seven points.

The Tigers led the boards, grabbing 37 to Henderson’s 34. A discrepancy in turnovers negated their advantage on the boards though, as they turned the ball over 17 times to the Reddies’ 14. The Tigers finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor, while they were great defensively, holding the Reddies to just 36.8 percent in the game.

Ouachita continues conference action on Saturday, when they host the Muleriders of Southern Arkansas at 4 p.m. That game closes out a four game home stand for the Tigers.


-Josh Fink, Sports Information Director

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