By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
SHAWNEE, Okla. — Henderson State, as it did in the 2020 GAC Championship, toughed out a hard-fought win against Oklahoma Baptist Thursday night, 75-72. The victory is HSU’s first over the Bison in the regular season since Jan. 2, 2020 and the first in Shawnee since Jan. 26, 2017.
Franck Kamgain showed up when the Reddies needed him most, scoring all of his team-high 17 points in the second half on 5-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from three. Tomislav Miholjcic and Alvin Miles both connected on six of their seven shots as Miholjcic secured a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double while Miles added 15 points and five assists.
As a team, Henderson shot 50.0 percent (26-52) from the field and 44.4 percent (8-18) from three. It is the third consecutive game where the Reddies have made eight or more three-pointers and shot better than 41% from the field.
Henderson’s defense was on full display in the early going, not allowing Oklahoma Baptist’s first points until the 15:56 mark of the first half. Unfortunately for the Reddies, they had only mustered six points in the same amount of time to take a three-point lead into the first media timeout.
The Bison took advantage of HSU’s equally slow start by coming out of the pause in play with a 17-7 run to seize a 20-13 advantage halfway through the opening frame. Both teams traded baskets over the final 10 minutes with Henderson getting as close as two before the Bison re-established their seven point lead at intermission, 33-26.
A couple three-pointers from the home team minutes into the second half gave OKBU its largest lead of the game at 42-31, but the Reddies began to climb back. With Oklahoma Baptist holding a 48-43 lead with 13:33 on the clock, Franck Kamgain, who had two points up till then, scored the next 12 Henderson points, including a self-made 9-0 run, to give HSU its first lead since the 13:26 in the first half, 49-48.
Outside of an OKBU dunk seconds later to retake the lead briefly, Henderson took that lead and ran with it the rest of the way, using strong defense and timely made shots to keep the Bison at bay the remainder of the contest. With the Bison tying the game at 52-52 with just over 10 minutes remaining, Zyon Patterson followed a Miles layup with back-to-back treys that put HSU up by five, giving the Reddies the last bit of momentum to finish the job.
In a game that saw Oklahoma Baptist miss 14 free-throws, Henderson connected on three of its final four freebies to ice the game late. A last-second three-point try from OKBU came up short, setting off the celebration from the visiting bench.
Henderson St. (7-4, 4-1) will remain in Oklahoma for the next couple of days with the trip culminating in Bethany, Oklahoma when the Reddies battle the conference-leading Southern Nazarene Crimson Storm Saturday, Jan. 7 at 3 p.m.