Oklahoma City, OK (Wayland Baptist Athletics) - J. J. Culver scored 26 points and Spencer Lindsey a career-high 13, and Wayland Baptist hit 27-of-30 free throws as the 24th-ranked Pioneers handed No. 12 Oklahoma City University a 76-75 Sooner Athletic Conference victory Thursday night at Abe Lemons Arena.
Wayland’s third-straight win places the Pioneers (11-4, 6-1 SAC) atop the conference standings, a half-game ahead of No. 4 Langston (13-1, 5-1). It was the third consecutive setback for OCU (8-5, 3-4).
The Pioneers led by eight in the first half, but the Stars were up by three, 34-31, at the half. Wayland then scored the first 10 points of the second half – a 3-point play by CJ Obinwa, a 3-pointer by Culver, and buckets by Rokas Mazionis and Jack Nobles.
The Pioneers led by as many as nine and stayed on top until the Stars went up 68-67 with just under three minutes to play. Neither team scored for almost two minutes until WBU’s Tre Fillmore drilled a 3-pointer. After the Stars missed a 3, Culver – after a Wayland timeout – drove the lane for a layup and a 72-68 lead with 18 seconds left.
Wayland got the ball back and Culver seemingly put it away by hitting two foul shots with 10 ticks left for a six-point lead. It got interesting, though, when the Stars Mark Howell was fouled on a 3-pointer and made 2-of-3 free throws. After a Wayland turnover and foul, Howell made two more free throws with five seconds left.
Culver was fouled and for sure iced it this time by sinking the last of his two free throws. Howell hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to finalize the scoring.
Culver led Wayland’s tremendous showing at the foul stripe by hitting 11-of-12. No other player hit more than three free throws as six Pioneers combined to go 16-of-18.
Behind Culver and Lindsey, Obinwa added nine points and Jeremy Betjol eight for the Pioneers.
WBU shot 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field, including 33 percent (5-of-15) from long range. OCU, with Howell and Anthony Davis getting 17 points each to lead five players in double figures, shot 49 percent (27-of-55) overall, but just 20 percent (4-of-20) from beyond the arch. The Stars knocked down 17-of-21 free throws (81 percent).
Wayland outrebounded OCU, 34-27, and had three more turnovers, 17-14.
Lindsey’s 13 points were five more than his previous best as the 6-foot-8 senior transfer from Oklahoma Baptist made 4-of-5 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, and both of his free throws.
Wayland is back in action at 4 p.m. Saturday in Bethany, Okla., against Southwestern Christian (10-5, 5-2), which has won five in a row. The Eagles drummed OCU on the road Tuesday, 105-70, then on Thursday downed Oklahoma-Panhandle State at home, 64-59.