A rough season for the University of Central Oklahoma has come to an end after losing to Fort Hays State 67-61 in the quarterfinals of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association’s post-season tournament. It was a pretty close game throughout but the main reason this team lost tonight was because of a six-minute stretch where they didn’t score a bucket, early in the second half. Missing five shots, along with 5 turnovers turned a once one-point lead into a 10-point deficit and eventually cost the Bronchos this one in Municipal Auditorium.
The Tigers bettered their record to (20-9) on the season, and also moved into the semifinals game against Northwest Missouri. UCO ends their season with a loss after a four-game winning streak and finished the season (16-14).
“I thought we battled hard and played with great effort,” first-year head coach Tom Hankins said in the post-game press conference. “We did a great job defensively holding them to 38 percent, but we turned the ball over way too many times (17) and when you make only 6-of-23 3-pointers it’s tough.”
Jarred Bairstow led the team with 17 points, Cornell Neal added 11 points as the only other player in double figures. Corey Alpough had eight points off the bench and Trai Jordan chipped in a team-high nine rebounds and seven points.
Although UCO didn’t have the season they wanted to, they have 10 players returning, one of which is the team’s leading scorer. Look for Cornell Neal and Garen Wright to lead this team next year.