No. 8 Wildcats survive Mustangs in overtime

The No. 8 Wiley College men’s basketball team has won games in all kinds of ways and Friday night was no different. After losing the lead late in the second half, the Wildcats took control in overtime to defeat the University of the Southwest 85-76 in a Red River Athletic Conference game.

“We fought hard,” head coach Jameus Hartsfield said. “We had an off shooting night. We shot 44 percent from the field, 55 percent from the free throw line and nine percent from the three. That’s a recipe for disaster. We should poise and determination to come out on top and that’s Wildcat basketball.”

Wiley College led 32-30 at halftime despite shooting 42 percent. Ricardo Artis, who is a candidate for RRAC Player of the Year, led the way with 16 points and six rebounds. He shot eight for nine from the field.

A slow start to the second half, caused the Wildcats to fall behind by as many as six. Wiley College went on an 8-0 run to take a 52-50 lead with 11:03 left in the game. Kevondric Davis made a basket and was fouled. He missed the ensuing free throw but George Page got the rebound and put it in. The Wildcats scored 14 of the next 21 points to increase its advantage to 66-57 with 5:24 left in the game.

Just as quickly as Wiley College seized the momentum, it gave it up as the Mustangs went on a 15-4 run to put the Wildcats behind 72-70 with 1:25 left in the game. Artis got fouled and tied the game at the free throw line with a little over a minute remaining. Cory Jones split a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats ahead 73-72 with 31 seconds left. The Wildcats committed a foul with 17 seconds left and Southwest split the pair to tie the game at 73. Davis had a chance to win the game but his shot went off the rim.

It was all Wildcats in overtime. Artis scored 10 of the Wildcats’ 12 points to cap off his 10th double-double with 34 points and 20 rebounds. The Mustangs only had six players in the overtime period after two fouled out in the second half.

“I thought our conditioning really showed,” Hartsfield said. “We wore them down in regulation and in overtime we took off. We went to another level and another gear.”

Wiley College controlled the boards with 10 offensive rebounds to the Mustangs two. For the game, the Wildcats grabbed 51 rebounds, with 28 coming on the offensive end. Wiley College outscored Southwest 25-6 in second chance points.

After shooting 1 for 5 in the first half, Page hit eight of 11 shots in the second half for 22 points. He completed a double-double with 10 rebounds.

“We’ve been on him tough in practice,” Hartsfield said. “Those last two games he had, statistically weren’t George Page statistics. We’ve been on him this week and he responded. I knew he would.”

Jones recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists. The Wildcats recorded 22 assists on 34 field goals.

Wiley College will host Langston University at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Lions are the reigning RRAC Tournament Champion and are receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25 poll.

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