OAKLAND CITY -- Wednesday marked a night of climbing for Oakland City University basketball men.
Climbing back from Monday afternoon's 88-70 loss at Alabama-Huntsville, the Mighty Oaks climbed back from an early 9-5 deficit and rolled to an 80-57 win over Louisville-based Boyce College in the Johnson Center.
"Give Boyce credit for battling us. We played pretty well," said Coach Mike Sandifar, whose team will take a 6-5 record into Saturday's 3:15 p.m. home game vs. Chicago-based East-West University.
"We competed well, but Oakland City got us turning the ball over, including four times in a three-minute stretch when they scored on three of them. We shot well, but they broke down our defense and got layups," said Boyce Coach Michael McCarty, whose Bulldogs stand winless in 13 games.
Talk about climbing, OCU seniors Andrew Scott and Logan Worthington did so. Scott, 6-foot-6 South Knox grad, scored 19 points in a 44-33 first half and finished with 23, raising his career total to 1,779. That's third on the Mighty Oaks' all-time list as he passed the 1,768 by 1984 grad Brian Wahl and the 1,774 by 1971 grad and former Oakland City High star Larry Harris. Since 19 games remain his season, Scott figures to overtake 1998 grad Stuart Love, whose 1,976 points are second all-time to the 2,402 that Jim Fleming finished with in 1974.
Worthington, 6-5 Evansville Reitz grad in his third OCU season after transferring from junior college Lincoln Trail, authored 18 points and 7 rebounds in Wednesday's win. His 1,095 career points stand 30th all-time among Mighty Oaks as his Wednesday work surpassed the 1,079 by 1961 grad Joe Todrank and the 1,084 by 2010 grad Brandon Hopf, former Forest Park High star who transferred to OCU from Southern Indiana. Just ahead, in 29th place, is former North Knox standout Eric Sanders with 1,104 en route to 2008 graduation.
Worthington's seven Wednesday rebounds raised his career total to 590. That's sixth all-time, a notch behind the late Chuck Cochren, former Wood Memorial standout who took 639 boards for OCU. School record is 968 by 2015 grad and former Boonville standout Brandon Morton.
"I just try to help our team, but getting that high on the scoring list is a really big accomplishment. You look at the names on that list and realize that those guys knew how to play the game real well," said the 21-year-old Scott, who shot just 1-for-10 on threes but 11-for-21 overall, including 8-for-8 on twos the first half.
"We started moving better on offense and getting layups. After playing outside a while, I decided to go inside and the guys fed me layups," said Scott, who also dished four assists, took four rebounds and made a game-high three steals.
"I never saw Brian Wahl play, but I saw Brandon Hopf play several times at USI. Rick Herdes, USI's head back then, has been a friend of our family," the 23-year-old Worthington said.
"Brandon was a big, strong kid who could move inside and get rebounds, Getting rebounds probably means more to me than scoring. A lot of people, including coaches, say that if you can get rebounds, you'll play. I'm trying to play the team game and let the points come to me through the offense."
Scott and Worthington were joined in double-figures by 6-7 junior and former Pike Central standout Tyler Toopes, who hit four threes en route to 14 points after averaging 13.6 in his first 10 games since transferring from junior college Danville (Ill.). Toopes also dished a game-high seven assists, made a game-high three shot-blocks and took a team-high nine rebounds.
"Coach Sandifar and the guys around me, especially Andrew and Logan, have really helped me," the 20-year-old Toopes said.
"In everything we do in practice, Coach Sandifar makes sure I'm doing things right. Andrew and Logan have taken me under their wing -- if I miss something or am in the wrong place, they let me know. It's fun to throw the ball to Andrew and Logan and the rest of our guys because they can make shots."
Six-seven freshman Bryant Nalley, Toopes' former Pike Central teammate, authored eight points, five assists and two shot-blocks in 22 minutes as a sub. Six-seven sophomore center Nathaniel Schmittler authored four rebounds and four assists to go with five points. Five-eleven freshman and North Posey grad Jacob Sanford, hitting two threes, produced six points, five rebounds and four assists. Six-three sophomore Kase Robinson shot 3-for-3 for six points in eight minutes as a sub.
Boyce, a National Christian College Athletic Association Division II team that will play in a postseason regional regardless of record, received 12 points each from 6-2 freshman Tyler Nauert and 6-1 sophomore Isaac Gibson. Each hit four threes. Six-one sophomore A.J. Caldwell scored 10 with two treys and dished four assists. Six-six freshman Kevin Kirby took a game-high 10 rebounds.
Scott scored 24 points and Toopes 21 at Alabama-Huntsville, not 26 and 19 as listed in the post-game box score. Alabama-Huntsville staffers, after reviewing game film, informed OCU sports information director David Hose that Toopes made a tip-in basket that they first credited to Scott.
College men's basketball
BOYCE COLLEGE (57)
Caldwell 3-7 2-2 10, Minnick-Tucker 2-7 0-0 4, Kirby 3-9 1-1 7, Gibson 4-11 0-0 12, Nauert 4-10 0-0 12, Turner 0-2 0-0 0, Alexakos 1-4 3-4 5, Kays 1-3 0-0 2, Wright 1-4 0-0 3, Hamby 1-4 0-0 2, Gulley 0-0 0-0 0, Coyle 0-0 0-0 0, Rosa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-61 6-7 57.
OAKLAND CITY (80)
Scott 11-21 0-0 23, Worthington 8-12 2-2 18, Schmittler 2-3 1-2 5, Toopes 5-12 0-0 14, Sanford 2-5 0-0 6, Nalley 4-5 0-0 8, Robinson 3-3 0-0 6, Mills 0-2 0-0 0, Robertson 0-1 0-0 0, Hoover 0-2 0-0 0, Ladd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 35-66 3-4 80.
Halftime: Oakland City, 44-33.
3-point goals -- Boyce 11-31 (Gibson 4-9, Nauert 4-9, Caldwell 2-5, Wright 1-4, Turner 0-1, Alexakos 0-1, Kays 0-1, Hamby 0-1), Oakland City 7-28 (Toopes 4-10, Sanford 2-5, Scott 1-10, Worthington 0-2, Hoover 0-1). Fouls -- Boyce 8, Oakland City 9. Fouled out -- none. Rebounds -- Boyce 34 (Kirby 10), Oakland City 40 (Toopes 9). Assists -- Boyce 13 (Caldwell 4), Oakland City 25 (Toopes 7). Steals -- Boyce 4 (Caldwell 1, Kirby 1, Alexakos 1, Kays 1), Oakland City 8 (Scott 3). Shot-blocks -- Boyce 4 (Kirby 2), Oakland City 6 (Toopes 3). Turnovers -- Boyce 14, Oakland City 8.