The College of the Ozarks Bobcats took their record to 5-1 Friday evening as they defeated Huntington University (IN), 91-86. The last time these two teams faced one another was in 2006, when College of the Ozarks defeated the Foresters to claim the NAIA DII Men’s Basketball National Championship.
On Friday evening, Huntington opened up the game by taking an 11-2 lead over the Bobcats, but the Cats managed to claw their way back into the game by tying the score at 29 with 5:21 remaining in the first half. The leaded traded hands several times before the half ended in a 45-45 tie.
The second half featured more of the same, with the score tied 12 times and the lead changing hands 13 times. College of the Ozarks was down 85-86 with 38 seconds remaining in the game, when Heath Carmichael hit a trey on a Cameron Paschke assist. A missed shot by Huntington and a C of O rebound found Joe Young at the line for 2 shots. After hitting his first, he missed the second but managed to capture his own rebound. Another foul by Huntington and two solid free throw shots by Paschke sealed the victory for the Cats.
Both teams took advantage of the long shot, as Huntington went 10-for-19 and Ozarks 7-for-20 from the three point line. While the Bobcats had a 40% field goal percentage in the first half, they came back with 60% in the second half. Bench scoring was also key in the matchup, as College of the Ozarks outscored Huntington 32-17.
Leading all scorers was Ethan Murray with 29, hitting 8-of-16 field goals and 9-of-10 free throws. Joining Murray for the Cats in double digits were Cameron Paschke with 14 and Heath Carmichael with 11. Joe Young grabbed 14 rebounds, and Kiefer Starbird dished 5 assists and picked up 2 blocks. The Huntington Foresters were led by Derek Hinen (24 pts), Daniel Woll (23 pts, 9 reb), and Zach Rutland (16 pts, 6 reb).
The Bobcats will have a few days of rest before heading to Nebraska to play in the Bellevue Classic next weekend.