OXFORD -- Great defensive play by Oxford's men's basketball team allowed the Eagles to easily take care of business on offense in their 82-53 win.
After Bryan College JV (Dayton, Tenn.) hit the first basket for 3 points, the Eagles (11-6) went on a 23-0 run. Even though the Lions cut into the lead just past the midway point to make it 28-15, Oxford closed the opening half strong to take a 44-21 halftime lead.
Oxford attacked the Lions offense, stopping them three or more times on eight different occasions, a goal it had for an entire game. The Eagles stopped Bryan College in three or more possessions 11 times for the game.
"That's one of our philosophies; we want to get three stops in a row eight times in a game. To do that in the first half was outstanding," Oxford head coach Roderick Stubbs said.
Even though the Eagles scored 23 unanswered points, they could have scored even more if not for several turnovers. Keeping Oxford off balance was the Lions' style of play. Rather than running up and down the court the way the Eagles like, Bryan College was more methodical, passing the ball around until they had the matchup and shot they wanted.
That is, until Bryan College began to feel the pressure of Oxford's defense.
"We know they're well-coached and they run their offense. Our game plan was to pressure the ball and make them play at a speed they're not used to. Once we got them to that point of speeding them up, that's when they started with turnovers and we got easy baskets ourselves," said Stubbs. "We did have a couple of turnovers early, but once we got into a flow and got into the open court and played a more aggressive defense, it allowed us to open up the lead."
The Eagles continued their dominating play in the second half, widening their lead to 50-21 before the Lions scored their first points splitting a pair of free throws.
A big key to giving Oxford their lead was the play of former Newton player Alex Ordu. Not only did he act as the floor general, directing traffic and putting players in the spots, he also led all scorers with 19 points. Also scoring in double figures for the Eagles were Zachary Lynn (14) and Samuel Kim (12).
"He's been playing solid all season, he's a great floor leader," said Stubbs about Ordu. "When he's playing well, we're playing well."