The NAIA DII No. 12 ranked College of the Ozarks Bobcats took on the Oklahoma Wesleyan University Eagles at the Keeter Gymnasium Friday evening in the first round of the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference South Tournament. It was a close call for a while, but the Bobcats edged out the Eagles by a score of 71-67 to move on to the finals of the South Division on Saturday against Central Christian College.
The game was tight through most of the first half, but the Bobcats headed into halftime with a 37-33 lead. In the second half, the Bobcats found themselves trailing 57-50 with only 8:11 remaining in the game, but they rebounded to score 15 unanswered points and take an 8-point lead with just under 4 minutes to play. The Eagles replied with a run of their own, outscoring the Bobcats 8-3 to draw within one, 67-68, with 33 seconds remaining. The Bobcats managed to sink three of four free-throws in the remaining seconds and capture the 4-point win.
Leading the Bobcats were senior guards Ethan Murray with 18 pionts and Derek Daniels with 16. Pete Leonard posted 5 rebounds and 10 points, while Alex Santiago garnered three steals, five assists and contributed 11 points.
The Eagles were led by Nikola Stjepanovic with 19 points and 8 rebounds, along with Steven Cooks posting 16 points and 5 rebounds.
The Bobcats will play in the MCAC South finals on Saturday at 5 PM in the Keeter Gymnasium on the College of the Ozarks against Central Christian University.