WARNER—Jahcoree Ealy drained 5-of-7 free throws in overtime to lift the 22nd-ranked Connors State Cowboys to a thrilling 75-71 victory over Arkansas Baptist College Monday night at Melvin Self Field House.
Ealy, who finished with 17 points, was 7-of-9 at the charity stripe and the Cowboys 16-of-20 at the line. Connors did not put the Buffaloes at the free throw stripe in the overtime period, as they tightened their defense and held them to just five points in the five-minute overtime period.
It was the Cowboys second overtime win of the year, the first a 122-114 win over conference member Eastern Oklahoma State on Nov. 25th.
"I thought Ealy made some big free throws for us in the overtime," said Coach Bill Muse. "(Jarquavious) Cain was around the basket to come up with some big rebounds in the overtime.
"It should have never gotten to overtime because we made a few mistakes by fouling, and put us in that spot. But anytime you can grab a win you go," said Muse.
Cowboys (14-1) will close out their first semester play on Wednesday (Dec. 11th) on the road against Mid-American Christian University Junior Varsity in Oklahoma City. Tip-off is 6 p.m. In an earlier meeting the Cowboys rolled to a 119-61 win over Mid-American in Warner.
Connors held a 12-point lead four times, but was unable to sustain it as the Buffaloes fought back each time.
Trailing 58-46 with 10:54 remaining in the game, Arkansas Baptist battled back to with-in two points, 66-64 with 1:12 left. After an exchanged of miss shots, the Buffaloes rebounded a missed 15-footer by Callen Haydon with 18 seconds left.
Connors which had only three team fouls, fouled the Buffaloes three times melting the clock from 18 seconds to 2.4 ticks remaining and still held a two-point advantage.
However, Haydon was whistled for the Cowboys' seventh team foul sending the Buffaloes' Caleb Parker to the line for a one-and-one. Parker converted both to tie the game at 65-all. He finished with 15 points. Kendrick Thorn led the Arkansas club's scoring with 17 points.
On the inbounds pass to Riggs, the sophomore's shot from mid-court and the ball bounced off the front of the rim, falling to the court sending the game into the overtime.
That set the stage for Ealy's heroics at the free throw line.
Cowboys held a 5-point lead at the half, 37-32 behind the 11 point output of Cain. Connors largest lead of the opening half was 12 points, 32-20 at the 6:20 mark of the half.
It came on a pair of free throws by Early, and buckets by Cain, Gabe Hornsby and Riggs. However, Connors could not maintain the lead as the Buffaloes battled back, scoring seven unanswered points to make it 32-27 with 4:05 remaining.
CONNORS STATE 75, ARKANSAS BAPTST 71 (OT)
Arkansas Baptist 32 34 5 —71
Connors State 37 29 9—75
Arkansas Baptist (4-6)—Thorn 17, Parker 15, Hunter 12, Harkness 9, Bell 8, Cubit 7, Davie 3.
Connors State (14-1, 2-0)—Cain 20, Ealy 17, Riggs 14, J. Graham 11, Hornsby 7, Haydon 4,Tanksley 2.