Plenty of Thrills in the OPSU
Gym on Wednesday
by Scott Puryear of Aggie Sports on 02/16/06
Goodwell, OK - Fans in Oscar Williams Fieldhouse at Oklahoma
Panhandle State University on Wednesday night received their
money’s worth watching excellent men’s and women’s
college basketball. The winner of both games was determined
in the final seconds. The OPSU men picked up a wild 61-60 win
over St. Edward’s, while the Lady Aggies showed great
courage in a narrow 64-62 loss.
Aggies 61 St. Edward’s
St. Edward’s came to Goodwell boasting a #6 regional
ranking with two wins over NCAA Division I teams, and sitting
in a tie for first in the Heartland Conference. None of that
intimidated the Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies though, and
when it was all said and done, OPSU had a 61-60 victory over
In the first half, the Aggies played
tough defense and many of them skidded across the floor chasing
loose balls, and there were some big time wrestling matches
under the boards for rebounds. However, the Aggies did not
shoot well in the first half and the teams went to the halftime
break with St. Edward’s
led 30-20 at the half.
OPSU coach Curt Connor stuck with his defensive game plan
and motivated his team to pick it up on offense, and the Aggies
roared out of the locker room to start the second half. They
went on a 17-2 scoring run, taking a 37-32 lead with just under
15 minutes to play. The Aggies never trailed again, though
the talented Hilltoppers made it interesting to the final buzzer.
As time wound down, the always dependable Eddie Moss nailed
six straight clutch free throws to ice the win for the home
After the game, the Aggie locker room was a loud and happy
place as Connor and his players celebrated the huge win, which
keeps them in contention for a Heartland Conference playoff
The 6’9 Aaron Harrison and 6’7 Nick Malinowski
bulled their way to a combined total of 20 rebounds against
a strong St. Edward’s inside game. Harrison had 19 points
and a dozen rebounds, and Malinowski added 14 points and eight
boards. Moss, a tremendous overall athlete, dropped in 15 points
and came up with five big steals. As a team, OPSU shot a blistering
69% from the field in the second half.
With the win, the Aggies evened their
conference record at 5-5, and avenged a loss to St. Edward’s a month ago.
They will have revenge on their minds next week with games
against Montana State-Billings and Lincoln. If they continue
to play as well as they did on Wednesday, they’ll have
a shot at a run in the league playoffs, set to begin during
the first week of March.
St. Edward’s 64
Lady Aggies 62
Two good college women’s college basketball teams squared
off on Wednesday night in Oscar Williams Fieldhouse. The Lady
Aggies of OPSU and St. Edward’s crossed paths a month
ago in Austin, Texas and St. Edward’s got the overtime
win. The Lady Aggies, despite a trio of banged up players and
the absence of a key performer, refused to go quietly on Wednesday
night. It was anybody’s game until the final buzzer,
but St. Edward’s picked up the 64-62 win.
The game was competitive from start to finish with the Lady
Aggies leading for most of the first half and going into halftime
with a 29-27 advantage.
The Lady Aggies had a good deal of adversity
to overcome and, as they have for most of the season, they
rose to the occasion against a very tough team. Michelle
Kennedy, Brandi Lewis and Diana Garduno all played through
nagging injuries and dependable inside player April Gahagan
could not be at last night’s
St. Edward’s came out aggressively in the second half
and built led by as many as nine points. However, the Lady
Aggies fought back with great determination and came within
a single point as the clock wound down. In the final 65 seconds
of play, St. Edward’s Jennifer Knight went to the free
throw line ten times and converted nine of them to lead her
team to victory.
OPSU coach Jerry Olson could have made
excuses for the loss and pointed to the adversity his team
faced, but that’s
not the way he operates. Olson said, “I think we played
with a lot of guts and they (St. Edward’s) made their
shots when they had to, especially at the free throw line.”
OPSU’s Nina Kuleff has emerged as one of the best players
in the Heartland Conference and her performance Wednesday was
no exception. The 6’0 junior lead all scorers with 23
points and pulled down a game high 12 rebounds. Taneisha Rogers
scored a dozen points and Lewis added 11. Laura Wilson contributed
eight points off the bench.
With the loss, the Lady Aggies stand 6-5 in the conference
and are still in strong contention for a spot in the conference
post season playoffs which begin the first week of March. The
Lady Aggies play their last game of the regular season on Friday,
Feb. 24 against Lincoln University in Oscar Williams Fieldhouse.