By COURTLIN HAYGARTH | HSU Sports Network
ARKADELPHIA — Henderson State won its third consecutive game by single digits Tuesday evening, splitting the season-series against Ouachita Baptist inside the Duke Wells Center, 62-59. The Reddies’ last five victories have come by a combined 15 points.
Henderson’s defense held Ouachita to just 19.0 percent (4-21) shooting from behind the arc while HSU hit at a 47.1 percent (8-17) clip from long range despite starting the game missing its first two deep balls. The Reddies’ bread-and-butter of rebounding the basketball also played a huge factor as they out-rebounded the Tigers, 50-38.
Tomislav Miholjcic recorded a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way for HSU, followed by Malik Riddle with 12 and Alvin Miles with 11, including a perfect 4-for-4 at the free-throw line. Miles has been the definition of automatic at the charity stripe lately, making his last 30 free-throw attempts with his last miss coming back on Jan. 14 against Southwestern Oklahoma St.
The first three minutes of the second edition of the Battle of the Ravine looked to be a repeat of the first half of the season’s first meeting, with Ouachita Baptist jumping out to an 8-2 lead after HSU missed three of its first four field-goal attempts. That changed after a Miles fast-break bucket made it a four-point game, 8-4, at the first media timeout.
From there, back-to-back three-pointers from Riddle and Miles sandwiched around a Tiger basket gave the contest its first tie at the 14:07 mark, 10-10. After a layup put OUA ahead briefly, HSU’s third-consecutive trey, this one from Ryan Boyce, gave the Reddies their first lead of the game 40 seconds before the under-12 media, 13-12.
Consecutive buckets from Zyon Patterson put HSU ahead by five before the Tigers knotted it back up at 17-all as the margin never exceeded a one-possession amount over the final six and half minutes of the opening half. With Ouachita sporting a three-point lead with 50 seconds left until intermission, a triple from Franck Kamgain followed by a steal-turned-layup from Miles gave Henderson the advantage heading into the locker room, 29-27.
The second half started with the Tigers going on a 9-0 run after the Reddies secured the first basket post-halftime, racing out to their largest lead of the game at 36-31 before establishing two more five-point advantages over the period. Each time, Henderson was able to climb back.
With OUA’s final five-point lead with 10:44 on the clock, Boyce sparked the HSU home crowd with two of his three triples as his personal 6-0 run gave HSU the lead, 49-48. From there, the lead changed hands three more times over the next five minutes before it alternated for good with 1:28 remaining in regulation.
With the Tigers enjoying a three-point lead with 2:58 remaining, Riddle ratted off six consecutive points, including a go-ahead three-pointer as the clock read 1:28 that gave HSU its first lead since the 5:16 mark of the second half. A 2-for-2 trip at the free-throw line from Ouachita to cut the lead to one was met by a 2-for-2 trip from Miles on the other end with nine seconds remaining. A last-second three never came for the Tigers as Henderson’s defense forced a turnover as the ticker expired.
Tuesday’s win ties Henderson St. (11-13, 8-10) with Ouachita Baptist in the conference standings for eighth place while just sitting one game out of fifth. Up next for the Reddies is a home date with Southeastern Oklahoma St. Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.