January 31, 2023

LUBBOCK, TX – Despite being as much as 13 points behind in the first half, a furious rally in the second half and a buzzer beater in overtime Russell Harrison gave Lubbock Christian their first conference win of the season, defeating Oklahoma Christian 70-68 on Thursday, December 1st.

It was all Oklahoma Christian (4-2, 0-1 LSC) early in the contest, starting the game on an 11-4 run thanks to a first three from Moun’Tae Edmundson and two layups from Drew Tennial. The Eagle advantage swelled to 19-6 at the 11:57 mark of the first half thanks to another bucket from Tennial before Karlyn Kenner added a layup and earned a pair at the charity stripe.

Lubbock Christian (3-2, 1-1 LSC) scraped back to reduce the lead to 20-16 with 7:04 in the opening salvo with a 10-1 run thanks to two layups by Harrison and jumpers by Aaron Gonzalez and Rowan Mackenzie. OC pushed the lead back to double digits after an emphatic dunk from Tennial and a jumper from Edmundson to move to 28-17, with 3:54 remaining in the first round.

The chaps wouldn’t go away as Mackenzie had previously deflated the first three of the game for Lubbock Christian at the 2:42 mark Kendall Dow He added a three of his own 37 seconds later to reduce the lead to 30-25. For the fifth straight game, LCU pulled off a first-half shot with less than five seconds left when Gonzales connected with a layup on the horn to reduce Oklahoma Christian’s lead to just 30-27 at halftime.

Mackenzie opened the second half with a three-point bucket to level the game for the first time since the final score was 0-0, but a trio of shots from beyond the arc found Kenner, Edmundson and Tennial and the Eagles took a 39 back -34 lead with 14:39 remaining in regulation. Back-to-back threes from Edmundson and Kenner put Oklahoma Christian to an 11-point lead by 9:31 as the Eagles went 51-39 ahead.

The Chaps didn’t stop competing again, posting an 11-2 run thanks to two layups from Mackenzie and two more three-pointers from Gonzales and Dow, and LCU was just 53-52 with 4:39 to go. Alec Zambie came through on the defensive end 12 seconds later as his steal and goal gave Lubbock Christian their first lead of the contest and went 54-53 ahead with 4:27 left.

Another zambie scoop and score, along with a pair Najib Muhammad Free throws gave LCU a 58-53 lead, but two layups by Antonio Gordon cut the lead to 58-57 in favor of the chaps by 1-12. Mackenzie came through with another layup with 37 seconds left, giving Lubbock Christian a 60-57 advantage.

Oklahoma Christian didn’t blink when Mojus Mojus deflated a three with 26 seconds left to level the game at 60. Harrison got a look of three with four seconds left for the chaps, but it ran out and the two conference rivals went into overtime.

It was LCU that got hot in overtime as Gonzales posted a three in the opening seconds before a Mackenzie stepback jumper gave the Aussie 30 points for the game and LCU went 66-62 with a 2-18 lead brought period. Once again, Oklahoma Christian had an answer as Kenner nailed a three-point basket before a Gordon free throw ended the contest at 66 with 1:05 left.

Two three-pointers by Muhammad with a lead of 37 seconds brought Lubbock Christian. 68-66 on top, but OC responded with a layup from Gordon with 26 seconds left. After taking a time-out with 15 seconds left, Harrison got another chance to end the game by completing a one-handed fall-away layup with 0.2 seconds on the clock that rattled home and finished LCU the Eagles with a 70-68 win in overtime.

It’s the first overtime win for LCU since Jan. 27, 2022, when Lubbock defeated Christian Angelo State 85-79 in double overtime. The Chaps have been 2-2 in overtime games since joining the LSC in 2019, all of which are conference fights.

The win marks the fourth straight win for the Chaps over Oklahoma Christian and the ninth straight win for LCU at home against their longtime Oklahoma City rival. The win is also the third consecutive conference opening win for Lubbock Christian since joining the Lone Star Conference, and LCU is 3-1 in all-time conference openings.

Mackenzie scored 30 points in a game for the second time this season. The junior scored a career-high 35 points against the Colorado School of Mines on November 12. He also finished with four rebounds, four assists and two steals while shooting 3-for-5 from the three-point line. Mackenzie was also perfect from the free throw line, going 9-on-9 from the charity strip and completing just one try to be eligible for the one-game free throw percentage record (to be eligible for the record, a player must attempt at least 10 free throws in a game).

While Harrison finished with just six points, he grabbed nine rebounds and dished out two assists. Fletcher McDonald set a career-high in points for the second straight game, scoring five points while laying down a career-best seven boards. Zambie also set a new career high in rebounds, finishing with six.

Karlyn Kenner led Oklahoma Christian by 16 points.

The Chaps end their three-game home game against Arkansas-Fort Smith in another Lone Star Conference clash. Tipp-Off is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are still available at lcuchaps.com.

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