BETHANY, OK – In a "David vs. Goliath" match-up in the opening round of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament, the eighth-seeded Lubbock Christian University Chaparrals pulled off their biggest upset of the season by defeating No.2 nationally ranked and top-seeded Oklahoma Baptist University 67-64 Thursday night inside Sawyer Center on the Southern Nazarene University campus.
Lubbock Christian University never trailed in the contest en route to ending a seven-game losing streak. Hewitt, who joined teammate Douglas Williams with a game-high 18 points, started off the game with five of the team's opening 10 points and the Chaps took an early 10-4 lead. Tyler Parker hit his only field goal for OBU to end the 6-0 run, but the Chaps responded with a 10-4 run highlighted by a five-point stretch from Williams to place the Chaps with a 19-10 lead 11:23 remaining in the first half. OBU cut the LCU lead to a one-point lead on two occasions in the first half, but LCU closed the half on a 7-2 run for a 32-26 halftime lead. Hewitt had 10 of his 18 points in the first half to lead all scorers.
The Bison opened the second half with the first three points, cutting the LCU lead to 32-29, but they remained composed with Hewitt nailing a three-pointer to build the lead to 37-31 with 16:48 remaining. LCU did not let the lead slip under a five-point advantage until Garrett Steinmetz hit the first of a pair of second-half three-pointers to cut LCU's lead down to 40-37 with 14:37 to go. Al Duvall and Clay Roberts responded with field goals and LCU pushed their leading margin to seven at 44-37. Teams traded baskets for the next six minutes and LCU used a 5-0 run with less than six minutes remaining to take a 58-49 lead to match their largest lead of the game. Down the stretch, OBU forced LCU to win the game at the line. LCU scored their last field goal with 2:11 remaining for a 62-55 lead. Their final five points came from the line, with a pair of free-throws from Williams and three from Hewitt. He missed one with 13 seconds remaining to allow the Bison an opportunity for a three-point shot to tie the game, but they were unable to get the game-tying bucket and LCU conquered the tournament's biggest shocker.
LCU held the NAIA's best field goal shooting team (56.3% on the season) to shoot 40.8% from the field (20/49) in the game and 37% (10/27) in the second half. The Chaps shot a solid 61.9% (13/21) in the second half and 52.3% (23/44) in the game. They received a solid shooting performance in the second half from Benoit Bekono, who was 6-of-6 from the field for 14 points and led the team with seven rebounds. The Chaps benefitted from the free-throw line, shooting 80% (16/20) from the charity stripe. OBU received their production from SAC Player of the Year Nate Brumfield, Kevin Swinton and AJ Hawkins. Swinton was 6-of-8 from the field with 17 points, Brumfield had 16 points and Hawkins tallied 15 points, with 10 coming from the free-throw line.
The Chaps improve to 14-15 and it was their first win in exactly a month (77-65 win at St. Gregory's on 2/4/10). OBU fell to 28-3 with the loss.
Lubbock Christian is now 2-2 all-time in tournament action against OBU and 12-14 all-time. It marks the third consecutive season LCU has won the opening game of the tournament. They now stand one game away from an automatic birth to the Buffalo Funds - NAIA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship tournament in Kansas City. LCU can obtain a birth with a win Friday at 6 p.m., as they will face (5) John Brown University, who defeated (4) Oklahoma Christian 67-44. Friday's game can be heard online at www.lcuchaps.com.