Rogers State withstood an inspired Senior Night effort by Northwestern Oklahoma State and escaped with an 81-79 overtime victory Thursday in Alva, Okla.
Rangers’ seniors Brandon Brown and Brandon Dixion combined for 45 points in their final appearance at Percefull Fieldhouse, but ultimately it wasn’t enough. Lance Sullivan found John Boyd wide open underneath the rim for the decisive bucket with seven seconds remaining in the extra period. Daryl Glover’s runner missed off the front of the iron as time expired.
RSU started the game on 8-0 run and led 34-30 at the break. Northwestern grabbed its first lead with a 9-0 run to start the second half. Sylvester Spicer halted the streak with a jam and the Cats regained the lead on back-to-back treys by Reggie Burnett and Chris Francis.
RSU trailed by one entering the final minute of the second half. Francis came up with a critical steal and Spicer drew a foul with 18 seconds remaining in regulation. The Dallas native missed the first attempt and converted the second to knot the game, 70-70. Brown drove the length of the court for Northwestern and missed a fade-away jumper at the buzzer to force overtime.
Brown did his best to atone for the missed opportunity by scoring the first six points of the extra frame. Dixon put the Rangers up by six with 1:30 remaining on a backdoor bucket. RSU roared back with three quick baskets. Freshman Alex Ewings started the rally with a steal and score and Deveric Taylor followed with a stick-back bucket. After a Northwestern turnover, Reggie Burnett tied the game on a driving layup with just 25 seconds remaining.
The Rangers had an opportunity to take the last shot, but Taylor fouled Brown in the backcourt while attempting a steal. Brown missed both free throws to set the stage for Boyd’s winning basket.
Spicer led RSU with 15 points while Burnett scored 14. Ewings tallied a career-high 13 points and Taylor added 13 points as well. The Hillcats shot 52 percent from the floor on the night and outrebounded the Rangers, 47-44.
Rogers State (19-10, 12-9) moved into a tie for fifth place in the Sooner Athletic Conference with the victory. The Hillcats will close out the regular season Saturday night at the Claremore Expo against No. 25 Oklahoma Christian. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and every fan in attendance will receive a free Hillcat WHITE OUT t-shirt courtesy of 1st Bank Oklahoma and Pixley Lumber Company.