January 13, 2008
All coach Doug Tolin could do was sit back and smile as the rest of the gym went crazy after Evan Grace banked a running three-pointer to beat the buzzer and defending national champions Oklahoma City 76-73.
“I thought he shot it too quick,” Tolin said. “I wished he got another dribble or two and then it went in. You don’t expect that to go in. You’re pretty lucky when that goes in. But sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good. That old saying is true.”
OCU’s John Roby hit a three-pointer from the corner to tie the game at 73-73 with 4.1 seconds left and Tolin decided to run the same play that failed them against Northwestern Oklahoma State.
“We actually ran that against Northwestern, but I didn’t run it right,” Grace said.
On the inbound pass, Al Moore threw it in to Brian Hill, who dished it off to Grace. Grace dribbled just past half court and let it fly with about 2.5 seconds left.
“I was trying not to think, just get it high and give it a chance,” said Grace.
The guards powered the Bison, scoring 58 of the team’s 76 points. Grace scored 18, Brent Jones dropped 19, Justin Williams came off the bench with 13 and Brian Hill had 8 on the night.
“I thought our guards played pretty well tonight. Their postmen are pretty physical and strong inside,” Tolin said. “Our guards are really improving and getting better, I feel like. They are the strength of our team offensively, there’s no doubt about that.”
The Bison built a 33-17, but saw the lead slowly evaporate and the Stars retook the lead at 42-41 on a three by Willie Irick at the 13:20 mark. Irick scored a game-high 29 points on nine-of-13 shooting, including four-for-four from long range.
The teams battled back and forth the rest of the game with seven more tie and nine more lead changes.
Williams hit three from behind the arch in the battle after Roby gave OCU a 48-44.
“Boy he made a lot of shots in about a six-minute stretch to keep us in the game,” Tolin said
Jones made a floater to make it 72-70 then hit one-of-two free throws with 17 seconds to go.
The No. 6 Bison stay atop the Sooner Athletic Conference at 6-1 and improve to 14-1 overall.