The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma won its first-ever Sooner Athletic Conference basketball tournament championship with a 93-90 victory over Oklahoma City University Saturday. The win improved USAO to 19-13 on the year and helped the Drovers secure an automatic berth in the NAIA National Tournament later this month in Kansas City.
Taran Buie and Imani Edwards each scored 24 points and sparked a late-game surge that erased a 15-point OCU lead over the game's last seven minutes.
OCU was led in scoring by Lou Dunbar with 26 points had a 71-56 advantage with 11:50 to play. The Stars led through much of the game thank primarily to their outstanding three-point shooting. Dunbar made his first five three-point shots and finished the game making seven-of-nine. As a team, OCU mad 12-of-19 for 63.2 percent.
The Stars still held 10-point lead at 79-69 with just over five minutes to play. USAO then went into a full court pressure defense and forced OCU into four consecutive turnovers. Brendan Chapman made a pair of free throws and completed a 7-0 run that saw USAO trim OCU's lead to 79-76 with 3:08 to play.
USAO finally took the lead when Edwards sunk a pair of free throws to give the Drovers a 83-82 lead with 2:02 remaining. Chapman then scored on a follow basket and USAO was up 85-82 with 1:31 to play.
OCU had two opportunities to tie but Dunbar missed two-of-three free throws after he was fouled attempting a three-pointer with 1:14 to play. Elijah Christman missed a desperation three at the buzzer.
USAO secured the win with Buie making four free throw attempts in the game's final 30 seconds.
OCU shot well in the loss making 33-of-53 attempts for 62.3 percent compared to USAO's 42.9 percent on 30-of-70 attempts. USAO had a sizeable advantage at the free throw line making 28 of its 39 (71.0 percent) attempts while OCU was just 12-of-23 for 52.2 percent.
USAO turned the ball over just nine times while forcing the Stars into 28 miscues on their offensive end