Bulldogs fall to Ouachita in closing seconds of OT


Damion Thornton, shown here in an previous encounter, scored 29 points against Oauchita Baptist.

SWOSU Athletics

SWOSU men’s basketball lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Ouachita Baptist 82-81 Thursday night inside the Pioneer Cellular Event Center.

Ouachita Baptist made the game winning basket with three seconds to play in the overtime period. Damion Thornton had a slim chance to win at the buzzer but missed the nearly half court three-point shot as the clock hit zeros.

SWOSU nearly set a school record in free throw attempts against the Tigers. They shot 48 free throws – the second most attempts in NCAA Division II school history. For the game, the Bulldogs finished 35-of-48 (73%) from the charity stripe.

Thornton scored 10 points midway through the first quarter and the game was tied at 17-17. Ouachita Baptist gained momentum and managed to build a double-digit lead. SWOSU trailed 46-36 at halftime.

Out of the locker room, the Bulldogs came out shooting after a cold first half. Kamden Gipson buried two three-pointers early, as SWOSU kept grinding and tied the game at 55-55 with 10 minutes left to play.

SWOSU found themselves leading 74-72 following another Gipson three ball with 2:38 left to play, but Ouachita would answer nearly a minute later with a pair of free throws to knot things back up. Those would be the final points scored of regulation.

Gipson had a look at the end of regulation, but the shot rimmed out and the game went into overtime.

With another go-ahead bucket by Gipson, SWOSU held an 81-80 advantage with two minutes to play in OT. Both teams went scoreless until the final possession, where the Tigers inevitably delivered the dagger go-ahead jump shot to seal it.

Ouachita shot 49% as a team on the night compared to SWOSU’s 35%. The Dawgs were able to lean on their penetration in the paint and foul shooting to keep their scoring offense productive.

Thornton scored 29 points (7-of-12 shooting, 14-of-17 from the free throw line) and recorded nine rebounds, just one rebound shy of a double-double. Gipson scored 23 points and knocked down six three pointers on the night. Chris Braggs, Jr. chipped in nine points.

SWOSU falls to 3-8 overall and is 2-4 in Great American Conference play. The team’s next game is at 3 p.m., Jan. 8 at home against Henderson State.