By Michael Stewart, Assistant Sports Editor (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletics)
The Oklahoma Baptist men’s basketball team has endured a difficult start to the new year.
After ending 2017 on a three-game winning streak, the Bison have hit a bit of a rough patch. Since returning from winter break, the Bison have a record of 4-8 pushing them to 9-13 overall on the season.
“We have definitely let some games go that we should’ve won,” freshman Laef Payne said. “We have a lot of talent on this team that can help get our season back on the right track.”
Despite the recent skid, the Bison are still well in position to earn a spot in the Great American Conference post-season tournament and have a shot at a title.
“I feel like we still have a chance to grab the eighth seed,” senior Travon Moore said. “We need to take it a game at a time and try our best to win the last six games of our regular season.”
The Bison currently sit at tenth place in the conference standings and are two games out of the eighth seed.
One thing that will play a key role in the Bison’s playoff push is protecting the rim and paint.
“Something that has continued to improve for us is our defense,” Moore said.
“Recently, we have been doing a better job of grinding out plays and getting stops.”
The Bison currently have the second most blocks in the GAC with a total of 105 so far this season. Senior Chandler Rickey has been responsible for 62 of those blocks.
Another key to the Bison’s success is their protection of the ball.
The Bison are ranked 3rd in the league in their assists per turnover ratio at 1.3. Lastly, the Bison must continue to shoot the ball efficiently from three.
OBU is ranked third in the GAC in three-point field goals made with 212 on the season.
“This team has high expectations,” Payne said. “We are expecting nothing less than to make into the top eight for the regional tournament, and to go all the way to win the national title.”
The Bison believe they have all the pieces to do so as well as the confidence to do so.
The Bison continue their chase for the post-season this Thursday, February 15 as they welcome Northwestern Oklahoma State University to the Noble Complex and again on Saturday at Southeastern.