Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script than this. Sylvester Spicer was the star of evening in his emotional return to the Claremore Expo, setting the stage for a blockbuster showdown next week.
Spicer shattered the Rogers State single-game scoring record with 32 points as the top ranked Hillcats ran away from Oklahoma City University for a 92-67 victory in front of 1,257 fans at the Expo. Saturday marked the first opportunity for Spicer to play in front of his home crowd since losing his younger brother, Otis Spicer Jr., to a heart attack Feb. 6. After missing three consecutive games to grieve with his family in Dallas, Spicer returned to the court this week and poured in 47 points in wins over Mid-America Christian an OCU.
The RSU victory sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-up Thursday night against Oklahoma Baptist in Claremore. The winner of Thursday’s tilt will clinch at least a share of the Sooner Athletic Conference championship.
The Stars led by as many as six points in the early part of the first half before the Cats came alive. Sophomore Deveric Taylor capped off a 24-4 run with eight straight points to put RSU in front 37-23 with 6:37 to play in the half. Taylor scored all 10 of his points in the first period and pushed the Hillcats to a 46-34 at the break.
The second half quickly became Spicer’s personal showcase. The junior forward poured in 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting in the period with a combination of dazzling dunks, graceful post moves and confident jumpers. He finished the night 14-of-18 from the floor and left to a standing ovation from the Hillcat faithful with 2:23 remaining.
Taylor, Aldric Reynolds and Matt Kellogg joined Spicer in double figures with 10 points apiece. The trio combined for seven of the Cats 10 3-pointers on the evening. RSU shot a scorching 63 percent from the field in the first half and finished at 56 percent. After connecting on 57 percent of their shots in the first half, the Stars cooled considerably in the second, shooting just 31 percent from the floor. Vinicius Telo led four players in double figures for OCU with 17 points.
However, the night clearly belonged to Spicer. His 32 points broke the previous single-game scoring mark (25) by seven, which he had shared with teammate Eric Young. He completed his theatrics with a sensational windmill dunk in the final minutes to put an exclamation point on a memorable individual performance.
Rogers State (25-1, 19-1) extended its winning streak to 12 games and kept its perfect home record intact at 13-0. The Hillcats will host No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist Thursday night in the final home game of the regular season at the Claremore Expo. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be carried live on RSU Public Television and RSU Radio 91.3 FM. The first 1,500 fans will receive a free “RSU WHITE OUT” t-shirt courtesy of Pixley Lumber and 1st Bank of Oklahoma.