COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Owls men's basketball team bounced back from last week's loss with an 83-69 victory over Champion Christian College on Friday, Jan. 25. The W played hard against the Tigers in Emma 'Ody' Pohl Gymnasium to improve to 5-13 on the season.
Junior guard Tavonta Jones led the Owls in scoring Friday night with a game-high of 23 points. The Meridian, Miss. native went 9-for-12 from the field including 3-for-3 behind the arc. He also added two free throws, four rebounds, two steals, and one assist to the effort.
Senior forward DJ Clark recorded his sixth double-double as an Owl with 11 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. Rounding out double-figure scoring, Keith Harris scored 10 points and Josh Skinner and Tre Pinkston put up 10 points each.
As a team, The W shot 50.0 percent from the field including 43.5 percent in three-point range. At the line, the Owls did not fair too well, going 11-for-23 for a 47.8 percent free-throw accuracy.
Champion Christian shot 35.8 percent from the floor including 26.9 percent beyond the arc. At the line, the Tigers performed much better than their opponent shooting 73.7 percent.
The Owls had a tough first half against the Tigers. The W suffered six turnovers, one less than Champion Christian, with both teams grabbing eight points from the mistakes. In the paint, the Tigers put up 18 points and held the Owls to 14. The Tigers additionally edged out Owls in bench points 9-5. The Owls won the half with threes, landing six jumpers beyond the arc while keeping Champion Christian to three.
Jones put up the first points of the game 2.5 minutes in with a three-pointer for the Owls
Almost a minute later, the Tigers answered with a lay-up and a jumper past the arc to pull ahead of The W 5-3. The team traded points for most of the period but the Owls were able to edge out Tigers with the last possession.
Trailing Champion Christian 39-36 with seconds left, Jones was fouled on a made layup and hit the and one to tie the game. With just a second on the clock, Skinner took a charge and grabbed both free throws to push the Owls ahead and close the period 41-39.
The W saw much improvement in the second half of the game. The Owls became more aggressive offensively and landed in the right placed defensively to stop Champion Christian from scoring. The W outscored the Tigers in the paint 22-4 and made use of turnovers, scoring nine points off the miscues while holding Champion Christian to two. The Tigers did shine in bench points with 14 and held Owls at eight.
Opening up the second half, the Owls went on a 15-7 scoring run and reach its largest lead of the game, 72-56, with 7:35 left in the game. The Tigers outscored the Owls 13-11 to close but it was not enough to take the lead. The W sealed the victory 83-69.
The Owls will be back in action on Saturday, Jan 26 when they host Belhaven University. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.