COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Wranglers come up short in one-point loss to undefeated Texans

Feb. 1—The South Plains College men's basketball team survived a 67-66 win over Odessa College to remain undefeated for the season Thursday at the OC Sports Center.

A missed shot by Odessa College's Daryl Houston as time expired ensured that No.1-ranked South Plains College (21-0 overall, 7-0 in conference) remained perfect for the season.

"It was a hell of a game between two good teams who will be playing in Hutchinson (Kan.) later this season," South Plains College head coach Hayden Sowers said. "Guys were making plays on both sides. We just happened to make one more play."

Willie Lightfoot drilled a 3-pointer to bring the Wranglers to a 65-63 deficit with 1:27 remaining in the game.

However, he missed three consecutive shots soon after and the Texans grabbed the defensive rebound.

Jabori Mcghee was sent to the line after picking up a foul where his free throws gave the Texans a 67-63 advantage with 26.5 seconds left.

Lightfoot was sent to the line after a foul by Mcghee on a 3-pointer attempt and he made all three charities for a 67-66 deficit for the Wranglers with 20.2 seconds left.

However, the Wranglers got the ball back with 11.4 seconds left and Lightfoot's 3-pointer attempt was no good as the Texans grabbed the defensive rebound and a foul with 4.5 seconds left.

If that wasn't enough, Jermahri Hill missed both free throws for the Texans and the game remained a one score game.

Odessa College grabbed the rebound but could not get the game-clinching bucket.

"We went zone but we couldn't get a rebound on defense," Sowers said. "Basketball is a game of rebounds and we made some mistakes and rebounded the right way. Odessa College has a heck of a team. We'll see them again down the road."

No. 11-ranked Odessa College fell to 18-4, 6-2.

"I thought it was a great game," Odessa College head coach Kris Baumann said. "I thought they made more plays than we did. We had a chance to go win it at the end. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the ball inside the rim. It's disappointing because you have to get the ball up on the rim so you can get a rebound or a tip-in. it's hard to rebound an air ball. That was disappointing. I thought our guard play was good. I thought the difference of the game was they were too physical for us for a 40-minute game."

The Texans were led by Mcghee's 21 points while Jalen Hampton had 17 and Malique Ewin had 11.

Odessa College was led in scoring by Willie Lightfoot's 17 points while Brandon Maclin had 14 and Esyah Pippa-White had 11.

Odessa College began the game on a promising 11-4 run, capped off by a 3-pointer by Brandon Maclin.

South Plains College answered right back with a 3-pointer of its own by Jabori McGhee just seconds later.

A put-back by Jalen Hampton for the Texans tied the game up at 11 with 14:29 left in the first half.

A 3-pointer by Anouar Mellouk put the Wranglers back in front, 14-11.

A slam dunk by Odessa College's Adam Walden gave his team aa 16-13 lead with 10:02 left.

South Plains College answered with consecutive free throws by Jalen Hampton to make it a one-point game shortly after.

But the Wranglers had another response as Darius Coleman scored on a 3-pointer soon after for a 19-15 lead.

Both teams continued to trade baskets throughout the half as free throws by Hampton gave the Texans a 25-23 lead with 4:02 remaining.

A turnaround jumper by Kerwin Prince allowed South Plains College to take a four-point lead before Maclin answered back with an inside basket just seconds later.

South Plains College led 32-27 at the half.

The second half remained close throughout.

A 3-pointer by McGhee gave South Plains College a 54-51 lead with 8:33 left in the game.

The Wranglers kept things close but the Texans managed to stay in front.

Odessa College will now begin the second half of conference play with a contest against rivals Midland College at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the OC Sports Center.