HUNTINGTON, IN - The Ohio Christian University men's basketball program is off to a hot start with an 8-1 overall record. When these two programs met last season, HU enjoyed an 86-71 win. It was sweet revenge for the Trailblazers as they spent the opening ten minutes building a ten-point lead, 21-11, and then held on to their double digit spread for all but one possession the rest of the way. OCU got the job done on both ends of the floor. Defensively they held the Foresters to their lowest point total of the season. Offensively they relied one of the NAIA's top scorers in Marquis Jackson (JR/Cleveland, OH).
Jackson, who currently averages 24.8 points per night which ranks him 8th in scoring, matched his season average with 25 points to top all scorers. He also finished with game-highs of seven assists and four steals. Nic Baker (JR/Hilliard, OH) and Evin Bartlett (SR/Huber Heights, OH) added 13 and ten points respectively for Ohio Christian.
As a team, OCU shot over 50.0 percent (28-for-55) for the contest while limiting HU to 38.9 percent (21-for-54). In addition to knocking down seven more field goals than their hosts, Ohio Christian also outscored the Foresters 27-12 behind the arc. Neither team got to the line much with Huntington going 6-for-10 and the Trailblazers going 6-for-8. Huntington was led by Derek Hinen who posted 19 points and three assists. Trevor Lockwood pulled down a team-high seven boards to go along with eight points and two blocks.
Behind three points apiece from Mason Coverstone and Josh Rutland, the Foresters rattled off seven straight points to erase the lead to single digits at 54-45 with just over six minutes to go. Unfortunately HU managed just seven points the rest of the way while Jackson provided the final push for OCU to ride out the win. The junior guard scored on three straight possessions which included two long balls to push the lead back to 17 with just over two minutes remaining.
"We held them to 22 points the first half," said Stockman, "We really focused in on the defensive side of the court. It was probably our best half of defense all season. When we play together as a team on both sides of the ball, we give ourselves a chance to win."
The Trailblazers are back in action Tuesday, December 15th at Simmons College of Kentucky. OCU defeated Simmons in the first meeting between the two earlier this season.