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Aggie and Lady Aggie Sports
Scott Puryear, Sports Information Director
Oklahoma Panhandle State University
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, OK 73939
580-349-1340 scottp@opsu.edu

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**For Immediate Release**
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 60
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 the Hilltoppers.

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 team.

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 spot.

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 game.

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.

OPSU's Nina Kuleff lead all scorers
Wednesday night. - Trey Scales photo

Aaron Harrison up for 2 of his 19 points.
- Trey Scales photo

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