By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
LIBERAL, Kan. — —
NOC Enid left the Conestoga Classic disappointed Saturday after a 84-76 overtime loss to Odessa (Texas) College.
The Jets lost a three-point lead in the final minute of regulation and were unable to get a potential game-winning shot off after Odessa had tied the game at 71 with a free throw.
The Wranglers outscored the Jets 13-5 in the overtime.
“We just seemed to run out of gas,’’ said NOC Enid assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “We had a lot of guys play a lot of minutes and we just weren’t tough enough in the final three to four minutes.
“They were really physical. We handled it well until the last three or four minutes. We let it get to us, and we turned the ball over too much over that stretch ... it was definitely a game we should have won.’’
The Jets (9-3) had five players in double figures — Dalen Qualls with 14, Connor Brooks and Kyndall Dudley with 13, Jeremy Espinoza with 12 and Rex Farmer with 10.
The Wranglers, who had entered the festival averaging 92.5 points per game, were led by Shondell Stewart with 23, followed by Daishon Knight with 17 and Craig Smith and Chris Hooper with 16.
The Jets led 43-35 at halftime, only to see Odessa begin the second half with a 9-0 run. The game went back-and-forth after that.
“We came out great,’’ Mahoney said. “We needed to come out with more effort in the second half.’’
The Wranglers hit 20 free throws and were effective on the offensive boards with their physical play. One major factor, Mahoney said, was the Jets giving up “three to four easy baskets’’ in transition in the second half.
“Those will cost you in close games,’’ Mahoney said.
While disappointed, Mahoney said it was a game the Jets can learn from.
“We played really well against a good team,’’ he said. “It’s nothing to bang your head against. We just need to improve, get tougher and handle physicality better down the stretch.’’
The Jets host Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference foe Seminole in the second half of a women’s-men’s doubleheader at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Mabee Center.