Sharper shooting in the second half was the difference as NAIA No. 18 Rogers State beat Wayland Baptist, 69-61, in Planview, Texas Thursday night.
The Pioneers held a first half advantage of as many as 11 points in the opening period of play. WBU led 33-29 at the intermission helped by nine points by Tanner Hazelbaker in the first half. The Pioneers shot 45 percent from the field in the period while the visiting Hillcats connected on just 31 percent including just two three-pointers on 18 percent shooting from behind the arc.
WBU would keep the lead until the midway mark of the second half when Ken Holdman found the mark on a right wing three-pointer to pull the Cats within two with 10:12 to go. On the following WBU possession, Alex Ewings nabbed the ball and streaked into the front court finishing with a layup and tying the contest at 47-47.
Juhreece Thompson drilled one of two free throws to give WBU the lead, its last of the game, at 48-47. Donald Williams found the bottom of the net from three-point range and RSU went ahead 50-48 with 7:43 on the clock. A lead the Hillcats wouldn't relinquish the remainder of the game and built to as many as nine points in the final minute of play.
Eric Milam led Wayland Baptist (12-8, 3-4) in scoring with 13 points as four Pioneers in all totaled double-digit scoring.
RSU's Williams led all scorers with 16 points moving him into third on the school's career scoring list with 870 points after transferring to the Hill a season ago.
Holdman and Justynn Hammond tallied 14 points each while Alex Ewings, after posting 10 points in the first half, finished with 12 in the game. RSU shot 30.4 percent as a team from behind the arc in the game.
Rogers State (16-5, 4-3) returns to action on Saturday, January 26 at 3 p.m. taking on Lubbock Christian.