WAXAHACHIE, Texas – Oklahoma Panhandle State University men’s basketball did not have an answer for a deft shooting game by NAIA No. 22-ranked Southwestern Assemblies of God University. The contest between the Aggies (1-1, 0-1 SAC) and Lions (1-0, 1-0 SAC) was the Sooner Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
“We picked up a ton of early fouls and let that bother us a bit,” Head Coach Mark Laird said. “We didn't defend well and our decision-making was not good. They shot the ball well and we did not.”
OPSU got off to a good start. Justin Pile made a layup to open scoring and hit a pair of free throws at the 16:04 mark of the first half to give Panhandle State a 10-9 lead.
But after that juncture, the Lions went on a 9-0 run and closed the half by out-scoring OPSU 45-24 and roaring out to a 54-34 halftime lead. The SAGU squad made 11 of their 13 three-point baskets in the first half, giving the Aggies a big hill to climb.
Panhandle State hung close to the nationally-ranked Lions in rebounds, where SAGU held a narrow 37-36 advantage, and shooting percentage (48% to 46%). The Aggies had 38 points in the paint, while SAGU had 34.
Pile led all scorers with a 16-point game. Pile made good on 6-of-8 field goal attempts, including hitting 4-of-5 free throw tries. Pile scored all of his points in the first half.
DK Sumo IV was Panhandle State’s only other player to reach double-digit scoring with 11 points. Sumo was 5-of11 from the floor. He also dished off two assists and pulled down six rebounds.
Freshman Jalen Thomas topped the Aggies with seven rebounds, also booking eight points. Junior Quentin Fankhouser also added eight points to the OPSU coffers.
Auston Chatman and Garrett Richardson had six and five points, respectively. Jalen Williams’ four points, TC Ellis’ three points, as well as two each from Jamaal Smith, Kaleb Stephens and Antanas Tamulis rounded out the OPSU totals.