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Whitfield Marks Double-Double in Aggie Men’s Season-Opener

Released by Panhandle State Sports Information on 11/04/2017 The Aggies tipped off the 2017-2018 season with a nail-biting performance against Nebraska Christian Friday evening at Anchor D Arena.-Rylee Higgins photo The Aggies tipped off the 2017-2018 season with a nail-biting performance against Nebraska Christian Friday evening at Anchor D Arena.-Rylee Higgins photo

Goodwell, Okla.—The Panhandle State men's basketball team hosted their home and season-opener against Nebraska Christian College Friday evening in Anchor D Arena at the Oscar Williams Field House.

Sophomore forward Jaedon Whitfield led the Aggies in a thrilling contest that left fans on the edge of their seats through the full forty minutes. Although the Aggies ultimately fell to the Sentinels in the final seconds of the game (87-86), Whitfield and the entire Aggie Crew gave fans a great glimpse of what's sure to be an exciting season ahead.

The Aggies held a halftime lead of 43-39 with shots scattered among nine players. Jace Kerr and DK Sumo tallied nine points apiece before the break and Whitfield held a first-half high of seven rebounds with five points accrued in the first twenty minutes. NCC 's DJ Hanes gave Panhandle's defense plenty to contend with throughout the night, scoring a high of 14 points in the first half.

Strong shooting by Whitfield helped the Aggies gain an 11-point lead at the 8:49 mark in the second half. Whitfield scored ten points in a ten-minute stretch and Kerr offered up seven points of his own. Freshman Dillan Landers put up six points with two shots for three, and Sumo landed four points in the paint to aid the Aggie advantage 70-59 midway through the second half. Over the next five minutes, Hanes went on to score 15 points to narrow the margin to a one-point deficit 77-76. Whitfield went on to add seven points for Panhandle with Kerr sinking two free throws, while Hanes and the Sentinels answered with eight. With 1:17 left on the clock, the Aggies led 86-84. Both teams brought the pressure defensively as time ticked away, Hanes was fouled on a three-point attempt with one second remaining in the game. He sunk all three free throw shots and the Aggies, unable to set up a shot, fell in the final second of the game by one point 87-86.

Hanes finished with a whopping 47 points for the game-high. The Sentinels averaged 47 percent in shooting for the game and totaled 39 rebounds on the night with three players bringing down eight boards apiece.

Whitifield totaled 24 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Aggies in both scoring and at the board. Jace Kerr and DK Sumo were the team's next leading scorers with 20 and 16 points respectively. Sumo also led the Aggies in assists with four followed by Chandler Bryer who dished out three. The Aggies matched their opponents in field goal percentage, shooting at 47 percent. They trailed beyond the arc averagine 28.6 percent to NCC's 31.8 percent and at the line landing 60.9 percent of free throws compared to the Sentinels who shot at 78.3 percent.

Commenting after the contest Head Coach Jerry Olson said, "We weren't good enough defensively to win tonight. We lost two of our best defenders to foul trouble in the second half. We missed six free throws down the stretch that would have put the game away." Olson added positive feedback adding, "I liked our effort at times, but we need to get better." He also gave credit to NCC's top-scorer, "DJ Hanes is one heck of a player and made big shots for them. He single handedly won that game for them."

The Sentinels start their season off undefeated with three wins under their belts. Panhandle State sits 0-1 with plenty of home-court games on the horizon. Aggie men's basketball takes the court at Anchor D Arena Monday night for a 7 p.m. matchup against Calvary University, and hosts a double-header against Champion Christian College Nov. 9-10 at 7 and 8 p.m. each night. The women's team will precede Friday's matchup with a 6 p.m. game against Langston.