After back-to-back losses earlier in the week the Rogers State men's basketball returned to its winning ways with a 75-69 victory over the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Saturday evening inside the Claremore Expo.
After falling behind by two to open the game the hometown Hillcats took the lead on a Donald Williams three-pointer and held the lead the remainder of the lead. RSU led by as many as 11 in the opening stanza and held a 43-34 lead at the break.
The lead swelled to 17 points as RSU opened the second period on a 16-6 run capped off by a pair of free throws from J.C. Hartzler with 13:31 to go. The Drovers answered with a 9-2 streak to trim the Hillcat lead down to 61-51 with 9:14 remaining.
USAO broke the double-digit lead held by RSU with 3:24 to go as Brandon Cutler's second chance bucket trimmed the deficit to 71-63. The Hillcats totaled four points over the final 3:24 but held the Drovers to just six points as RSU snapped a two-game losing streak with the 75-69 win.
With the victory the losing streak was held to just two games tying the longest losing streak in program history. It also marked the eleventh time in school history the Cats have had back-to-back losses over the program's 269 contests.
Williams hit 40 percent from three-point finishing with a team high 16 points for the Hillcats. Robinson Odoch Opong, in just his fourth game as a Hillcat, set a career high with 14 points. Starting only his third game this season Justynn Hammond totaled 12 points with three assists while Hartzler finished with ten points and six rebounds. Senior post Brian Gibson nabbed 12 rebounds as the Cats won the battle of the boards 38-33.
USAO (12-8, 5-7) was led by Dejuan Lofton with a game high 26 points as the visitors from Chickasha, Okla. hit only 67 percent from the charity stripe.
Rogers State (18-8, 6-6) returns to action on Valentine's Day as the Lubbock Christian Chaparrals come to the Claremore Expo Thursday, Feb. 14 for an 8 p.m. tip.