OXFORD — The Eagles found themselves in a hole that they couldn’t get out of as they lost to Huntington 96-88 on Thursday.
Huntington College’s aggressive manner seemed to catch Oxford (10-6) off guard as they were outrebounding and contesting every pass and shot. However, that aggressive play came at a price as they the Eagles were being sent to the line.
But the Hawks JV team were fortunate that the Eagles were unable to covert those opportunities. Oxford took 46 free-throw shots making 25 of them for a 54 free-throw percentage.
“We tell them we want them to shoot around 70 percent from the free-throw line. Getting to the line that many times, if had made that 70 percent we would’ve won this game,” Oxford College men’s head basketball coach Roderick Stubbs said. “But when you miss your free-throws you have to work harder. That made us constantly trying to climb the mountain.”
The Eagles were able to keep the game, tied at 19 with 10 minutes left in the first half, but the Hawks were able to start pulling away taking a 48-33 halftime lead.
Huntington College was able to take advantage of the offensive rebounds giving them multiple opportunities to score.
“We wanted to concentrate on that in the second half because we realized that they were getting two and three opportunities and eventually they would score,” Stubbs said. “At the beginning of the second half we slowed that down and really got back in the game. Then it got back to missing free-throws and them making big shots.”
The Hawks started sinking 3-point shot expanding their lead to 17 points before Oxford fought back to make it 58-52 with 13 minutes left in the game. But Huntington College’s aggressive play allowed them to extend their lead back to double digits.
“Every time we got within seven or eight points, they would make a big shot. Part of it was just getting off of finals, we had nine days off so their legs were not there,” Stubbs said. “That and not making the free-throws made it hard to overcome.”
Oxford’s Mitch Fundingsland and Patrick Burns led the Eagles with 20 points each followed by Jonathan Coles with 18 points and Seth Dossett with 16 points.
“We really didn’t have our legs underneath us,” Stubbs said. “It’s hard to beat any college team when you’re constantly trying to comeback”