If you are a basketball fan, the game Thursday night in Langston between the Langston Lions and the Oklahoma City University Stars was a great way to start 2020. The Lions trailed for 39:57 of the game, but in a span of three seconds, Langston scored the game-tying field goal before stealing the ball on the ensuing inbounds play, getting a shot off and was fouled to take the lead. The Stars half-court shot fell short as the Lions picked up their first win of 2020, 88-85.
The Stars (7-4,1-2) could not miss in the first half and jumped all over the Lions (8-3, 2-1) for a quick lead thanks to the three-point shooting of Anthony Davis, who hit three early three-pointers on the way to 28 points that gave the stars an early 15-6 lead. Despite being in foul trouble for the entire game, the Lions kept grinding away and got the deficit down to six points at 41-35 at the halftime break.
The Stars shot a torrid 54% in the first half, as well as 46% from beyond the arc in the first half. Despite having the Lions in foul trouble, the Stars would only end up shooting 9-for-15 from the free-throw line in the game.
The Lions meanwhile also had the Stars in foul trouble, but their bench kept rotating players in, as the Stars would end the night with 28 fouls, which when you are behind is great to get points with the clock stopped. The Lions would shoot 42%in the first half but went 0-for-5 from long distance. The Lions were 13-for-18 from the charity stripe.
The second half was not much better for the Lions. In the first seven minutes the visiting Stars broke out their long-distance shooting and doubled their halftime lead to 12 points at the 14:12 mark. Somehow despite having Keeto Browne on the bench with four fouls since the 17:12 mark, the Lions kept charging. The home team got the lead down to eight points at the 12-minute mark and down to six points at the seven-minute mark when Brown fouled out.
The good news for the Lions is they had been shooting bonus free throws since the 11-minute mark of the second half. The Stars never got in the bonus in the second half, as the Lions only committed six of their 19 team fouls in the second period. The Lions could not miss at the charity stripe, knocking down 14-for-16 attempts in the second half and 27-for-34 in the game.
The Lions full-court press bothered the Stars at times, as they got a five-second call on one play and then the steal at the end of the game on a wayward inbound pass. The Stars would commit 19 turnovers to the Lions 15 in the game.
The Lions only dressed nine players for the game, but got scoring from seven of them and double-digit efforts from five of them. Latarius Lloyd led the way with 21 points. Stevie Pringle had 15 points in the game. David Hunt II and Ryan Scales chipped in with 14 points each and Alfonzo Anderson contributed 13 points.
The Stars will only have to wait four weeks for the rematch on Feb. 1 in OKC.
The Langston women’s team had a much taller task as the #2 ranked OCU Lady Stars (10-0,3-0) were the opposition in the first game of the night. The visitors would take a 34-24 halftime lead and blow it open to a 57-32 lead after three quarters and cruised home to a 69-55 win over the Lady Lions (1-5,0-3).
The game was not without its excitement and things got a little chippy in the third quarter as OCU’s Erika Ankney and Langston’s Jailynn Lawson both received technical fouls for some rough play and when Ankney protested she got a second technical foul and was dismissed for the evening. The officials got both coaches together and everything seemed to settle down for the rest of the game.
Grace Williams (20 points) and Asheika Alexander (19 points) led the way for the Lady Lions as the Lady Lions only shot 38-percent from the field while committing 24 turnovers in the game. The Lady Lions meanwhile had no answer for Abby Selzer for OCU in the middle, as she was 9-for11 for 21 points with all her shots in the paint.
The Langston teams are back in action Saturday in Bethany at Southwest Christian with games at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. The teams return home January 11 against John Brown University.