FT. WORTH, Texas – The Oklahoma Panhandle State University men’s basketball team fought host Texas Wesleyan University hard in the opening half, before finally succumbing by a final scored of 95-69 in a Sooner Athletic Conference road contest. The Aggies fell to 1-2, 0-2 in the SAC, while the Rams improved to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in SAC games.
“We played the best half of defense we have so far this year in the first half,” OPSU Head Coach Mark Laird said. “We played much better for longer stretches. But giving up 14 offensive rebounds and 27 turnovers negated a lot of the good we did. TWU is a very tough and physical team and we battled them. We just need to get better in a few key areas.”
OPSU found itself down by double digits early versus a deft-shooting TU squad. But, after trailing by as many as 12 points in the opening salvo, battled back to within five points with 3:23 left in the opening period after a three-ball from Auston Chatman cut it to 25-20. The Rams, however, closed the half on an 8-3 run to hold a 33-23 cushion going into the locker room.
Coming out for the final 20 minutes of play, OPSU hit a cold spell. Panhandle did not tally a point until nearly four minutes into the stanza, while TWU built its lead to 20 points at the 16:12 mark and maintained that 20-point margin for the majority of the remainder of the game.
The Aggies shot a creditable 41.3 percent (26-63) from the floor for the game. Normally enough to keep a team in contention, the OPSU effort was overshadowed by a blistering 51.6 (33-64) field goal percentage for the Rams, who also made good on 52.4 percent (11-21) from beyond the arc.
Texas Wesleyan also took advantage of Aggie miscues, converting OPSU’s 27 turnovers in 33 points of its own.
Senior guard DK Sumo IV had a season-high 21 points to top Panhandle State I scoring. Sumo was 9-for-14 from the floor overall. He grabbed three rebounds and made a pair of steals in his 28 minutes of court time.
Chatman finished the night with 14 points. Chatman was an efficient 5-for-9 from the field overall and converted 4-of-6 from three-point range. The sophomore also chipped in four boards, two assists and a blocked shot.
Alfred Alkannama, a guard, found double-digit scoring with an 11-point game, to go along with three assists and two steals.
Freshman Jalen Thomas booked eight points and had four rebounds. Freshman Antanas Tamulis hauled in a team-leading five rebounds and TC Ellis’ four assists led his team in that category.
Panhandle State will play its first SAC home game of the season this coming Saturday, when the team welcomes Southwestern Christian University to Anchor D Arena for a 3:45 p.m. tip.