Aggies Stun Division I Colorado State 97-91 in Overtime
- by Scott Puryear of OPSU Sports on 01/09/2008
Goodwell, Okla. - The Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies traveled to Fort Collins to play a taller Colorado State team on Tuesday and they were not interested in anything to do with David and Goliath or hearing the theme song from “Rocky.” They were interested in just one thing – VICTORY - and that is exactly what they got in a wild 97-91 overtime game that is one of the school’s biggest ever basketball wins.
CSU is an NCAA Division I school that featured one player standing 7’0 and another at 6-10. OPSU competes in NCAA Division II.
From the opening tip, the Aggies meant business and a three–point Basil Leslie bomb put OPSU ahead 15-13 with 12 minutes to play before the half.
Nine minutes before intermission, OPSU center Antoine Callum put in a lay-up to tie the score at 19 points each.
For the balance of the first half, there was plenty of action on both sides and the Rams managed a halftime lead of just six points (41-35).
The Aggies were not about to go quietly and with 15 minutes left in the game, the CSU lead was still six points (54-48), but a pair of free throws by OPSU’s Will Stephenson got his team within two at 54-52 with just under 14 minutes to play.
The two teams fought and clawed at each other all the way and there was athleticism all over the court and big hearts from the entire OPSU squad.
With 1:57 remaining, the Aggies’ Fred Durr nailed a deuce to put his team on top 78-76 and at the end of the regulation 40 minutes, it was even at 78-78.
Behind a Luke Ogden two-pointer, a Durr three-point rocket, and the two quick buckets by Stephenson, the Aggies came out fast in the overtime and did exactly what they went to Fort Collins to do – GOT THE WIN (97-91).
Colorado State had not lost to a Division II opponent in 20 years and the Aggies earned every inch of it in their stunning victory.
Statistics are always special on a night like the Aggies had and Stephenson fought his way to 29 points and 11 rebounds, his fourth consecutive “Double-Double.” Three other Aggies scored in double figures – Durr (25), LaChawn Anderson (15), and Leslie (11). Ogden was right behind with nine.
Also special is the question of who was the game’s Most Valuable Player? . . . A good selection would be every one of the nine Aggies who saw action and worked so hard in the victory - Stephenson, Durr, Anderson, Leslie, Ogden, Callum, Chuck Salisbury, Marques Loftis and Scott Hilton.
Aggie Coach Jerry Olson, his assistant Victor Esparza, and every member of the team have given their fans a memory to cherish. The young men on the OPSU squad put everything they had into an exceptional night’s work.
As the Aggies (now 7-4) left the arena, the theme song from “Rocky” wasn’t playing . . . but it should have been.