LAWRENCE, Kan.– The Haskell Indian Nations men's basketball team came away with a much needed victory Friday night inside the Coffin Sports Complex as they defeated College of the Ozarks 62-43. Led by seniors Brady Fairbanks and Zach Eastman, the Indian men improved their record to (9-17, 3-8), while the loss dropped the Bobcats to (13-12, 5-5).
Both Fairbanks and Eastman compiled double-digits point totals as Fairbanks led all scorers with 15. Eastman added 14 and four assists, while Fairbanks chipped in with six boards, three assists, a block and a steal.
Early on the game would remain close as the two teams saw a tie and two lead changes until Haskell took a commanding 16-7 lead, thanks to a 12-2 run capped off by a Luke Lee lay-up. The Indians would maintain that lead for nearly three minutes, until Fairbanks converted on two free-throws to give HINU a 21-9 advantage. The senior from Bena, Minn. would then sink another three of his seven first half points, to push his team's lead to 27-13.
The Ozark men would bring the Indian lead below double-digits only once during the remainder of the half, but that nine point Haskell advantage would quickly go up to a dozen on a Byron Trujillo trey as seconds ticked off and the buzzer sounded, with the home team up 32-20 at the half.
The second half began with Eastman knocking down two shots from behind the arc in about a minute, which helped the home team maintain a comfortable cushion against College of the Ozarks. The Indians' sharp shooting would continue as a Fairbanks and Eastman converted on back-to-back three's, which gave Haskell a 21 point advantage (49-28), midway through the second. Despite a quick 7-2 run by the Ozarks, the Indians were able to put their opponents away, scoring 11 points in the final five minutes to close out a hard earned 19 point victory.
Before it was all said and done the Indian men would shoot 50 percent from beyond the arc, going 11-22. Leading the way for Haskell in that department was Eastman, who converted on four of nine treys he shot. Fairbanks and Trujillo each contributed three a piece.
The Haskell women fell in the night's first game 73-58 to the College of the Ozarks, who sat at number four in the conference, heading into the contest. Senior Lois Stevens led the way for HINU, netting 16 points and pulling down eight boards. Fellow senior Nataska Rouse chipped in with her eight point, six rebound performance. With the loss, the Indians fell to 10-16, 6-5, while the Bobcats improved to 23-3, 10-0.
The contest was close early on as the two teams traded baskets for the better part of the first half. That was until a three pointer by Ozark's Emily Walker gave the Bobcats some breathing room at 18-14. The visitors would maintain that lead until a bucket from beyond the arc by Indian senior Nataska Rouse would cut the Ozark lead to just one at 23-22. Following Rouse's trey, the Bobcats would go on a 16-3 run and open up a twelve point lead on Shane Flanagan's squad as they headed into the half, trailing 38-26.
The Indian women came out of the locker room reenergized, and went on a 10-2 run capped off by a three pointer from senior Sharon Forte, which made it 40-36. HINU would get within three points of the Bobcats on two different occasions following their early run, until a 16-0 run of the Ozarks' own gave them a 21 point advantage, their largest of the game at 67-46. The lengthy Bobcat run would prove to be too much for the home standing Indians as the number fourth ranked team in the MCAC closed out Haskell by a 15 point margin.
Post Game Quotes
Haskell Men's head coach Chad Kills Crow
On the victory…
"We played extremely good defense this game and we had struggles throughout the year with that. We also made good shot selections tonight, although the second half there were still some problems. Overall they did what they needed to do to win."
On his seniors' efforts…
"I think the kids played hard and they were determined to win. It was a little more of an emotional game for these three seniors (Brady Fairbanks, Byron Trujillo & Zach Eastman), because they wanted to go out these next two games with a ‘W'."
On the Bobcats…
"The Ozarks are down a couple of players, they are hurt, but they are still a good team. They are somewhere in the top of the conference, in the mix of things, so we beat a pretty good Ozarks team."
Haskell senior guard Zachary Eastman
On his three-point shooting…
"I felt good. Today we had a shoot-around and I was shooting the ball pretty well, so I felt pretty comfortable coming into the game."
On an emotional two-game stretch…
"It is kind of a reality check now, just playing here and knowing that we only have one more home game left. All of us seniors talked to each other and wanted to play to the best of our ability. Coach (Kills Crow) put us in the starting line-up tonight to win the basketball game, so that's what we tried to do tonight."
Haskell senior forward Brady Fairbanks
On his performance…
"They (College of Ozarks) scouted us pretty well and tried take away what I usually do, so I just kind of balanced it out and ran the offense. It came to my teammates and they knocked down shots."
On his team's game plan…
"We really wanted to come out and pressure them defensively. As soon as we got them on a run, we just kept hitting shots."
On his team's three-point shooting…
"We were not hitting too many in the first half, so I kind of hit some shots at halftime to get myself warmed up. My buddy, (Zach Eastman), was hot tonight. He hit some big shots and we stayed on the defensive side, and just kept them (Ozarks) down."
Haskell women's head coach Shane Flanagan
On the defeat…
"I think my kids were a little bit over amped for the game. We started to miss assignments and defend a different way than we have been defending in bounds. The kids started to do their own thing a little bit and I think that has something to do with not playing in a big like this before, but it is just a process of learning how to have a game plan and stick with it. We are going to get better from this, I truly believe that."
On the play of senior Lois Stevens…
"Lois played well. It is tough to battle that kid, number 45 (Morgan Smith) because she is a very good player and averages like 20 points a game. Lois did a very good job defensively and offensively and she only has three games left, so I expect big things from her in the next three games."
On playing back-to-back games…
"Basically I told them what we did wrong, what we need to work on and that we have to erase it and move on. We have to learn from the mistakes, but I don't want them lingering on the negatives. It was a tough loss, but tomorrow is another day."
|Haskell at||6th of 7|
|MCAC Conference Championships: April 22-23|
|(RV) Central Baptist College|
|(RV) Central Baptist College|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan University at||(5)||15|
|Oklahoma Wesleyan University at||(5)||32|
|(RV) Central Baptist College at||(5)||15|
|(RV) Central Baptist College at||(6)||10|
|Central Christian College at||10|