Eagles turning season around
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
By Tracy Washam
Oklahoma Christian University's men's basketball team is on a roll, winning four of their last five games, two of which have been buzzer beaters.
"We are at a good place right now," head basketball coach Dan Hays said. "We have found a rhythm and its doing good things for us right now."
The Eagles win against Oklahoma Baptist on Feb. 7 was the first regular season win over the Bison since 1991.
"We ran a play to Kyle who shot the three from the corner," sophomore Jason Taylor said. "It was pretty much just perfect timing I guess; I just caught the rebound and laid it in. That was a huge win for us. We really needed it."
Another exciting win came for the Eagles in a win over St. Gregory's University at the Eagles' Nest. The Eagles trailed 46-44 with 1.8 seconds to play. John Powell threw in the ball to freshman point guard Jeff Crocker who sank a three at the last minute giving Oklahoma Christian the victory.
"We were very fortunate. These wins have put some life back in these old bones," Hays said. "It was a great defensive effort and very average offensive effort for us, but we pulled it out."
The Eagles haven't been doing things much differently in practices. They have been working hard on basics like shooting and working on new concepts every now and then.
"We add in something new every practice," Hays said. "Whether it is an offense or defensive play, we are trying to incorporate all we can before the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament."
The Eagles have a young team this year, and they have had their share of adversity. But over the last few games they have proven even if they are down, they are not out.
"At one point we had lost four straight games in a row," sophomore Jon Jonsson said. "That's tough to get out of but we have been playing great ball lately and things are looking up."
The Eagles are getting a lot of help from sophomore forward Jason Taylor who was named the SAC Men's Basketball Player of the Week.
Taylor received the honor after averaging 23 points and 10.5 rebounds in Oklahoma Christian's perfect 2-0 week.
The Edmond, Okla., native finished with 23 points and seven rebounds against Oklahoma Baptist University. Taylor then recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 23 points and 14 rebounds in Oklahoma Christian's win over St. Gregory's.
Taylor leads the SAC and ranks No. 14 in the NAIA in scoring, averaging 19.04 points per game. He is second in the conference in rebounding, averaging eight rebounds per game.
The honor is the second this season for Taylor after being the SAC Player of the Week for the week of Dec. 3-9.
"I'm just out there playing the game I love," Taylor said. "I am just glad we are winning and that we are starting to look like the team we all knew we were capable of becoming."
Junior Kyle Teft has also been a steady contributor for the Eagles, currently averaging 15 points per game. Along with Jeff Crocker who averages 10 points a game and David Jackson who averages eight points.
"We have some consistent shooters on this team," Hays said. "They have really been coming through with big shots late in the game and that's what we had been struggling with earlier in the season."
The Eagles have four regular season games left including another shot at Oklahoma City University in the Backyard Brawl. They take on Rogers State University Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. at Oklahoma Christian.