OAKLAND CITY -- Stepping down in class, three nights after playing above their own, and also playing with a full roster in contrast to Tuesday, Oakland City University basketball men opened their regular season Friday by beating all-freshman Ohio State-Mansfield 98-60 in Johnson Center.
This after Tuesday's 114-53 loss at NCAA Division I Austin Peay State in what was an exhibition game for them and a counting game for the Governors. And while these differences prove huge, Ohio State-Mansfield Coach Don Nelson saw more of the same in the Mighty Oaks, whose predecessors he faced as head coach at Cincinnati Christian, Queen City Christian and Temple Baptist.
"Oakland City always has shooters. They're always disciplined and patient, and they carve you up," said Nelson, who, after assisting at upstate Goshen College last season, became Ohio State-Mansfield head coach 12 days ago and inherited the roster of eight freshman walk-ons.
The Mighty Oaks, who will head to Hawaii for dates Saturday at Chaminade and November 20 at Hawaii Pacific, and return to their continent to visit Southern Indiana on November 27, took charge early Friday, thanks to four double-figure scorers. Six-foot-six senior Andrew Scott, after playing just eight minutes at Austin Peay State due to a back injury a minute into the second half, parlayed 23 points, 8 rebounds and a pair of shot-blocks. Six-five classmate Logan Worthington, idle Tuesday due to an ankle sprain suffered late in Monday's practice, authored 19 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists and also blocked a pair of shots. His 15 rebounds led OCU's 52-29 backboard domination that went with 58.8 percent (40-for-68) shooting including 50 percent (9-of-18) from three-point range.
Six-one junior guard Beau Hefner, now the point-guard starter after playing mostly as a sub last season, parlayed 15 points and a game-high 6 assists. Six-seven junior and Pike Central grad Tyler Toopes, in his official OCU debut after two junior college seasons at Danville (Ill.) Community, produced 12 points and 3 assists. Scott shot 9-of-12 from the field including 4-of-5 on threes, while Toopes shot 4-for-6 totally including 3-of-5 on treys and also made a game-high three steals.
"Beau and Tyler must combine to give us 30 points a night," Coach Mike Sandifar said after the official start of his 28th season brought his 534th OCU win around 262 losses.
"Each must become more consistent. Beau must realize that everyone makes a mistake once in a while, instead of getting down on himself and letting that effect his play for two minutes after he makes one. He is a competitor," the coach said.
"My knees and back felt sore after Tuesday's game, but I knew I'd play tonight," said Hefner, who turned 21 on September 24.
"I'm more in the team lead position than a year ago. So I'm trying to help our guys more, get them moving in the right direction. I try to keep the guys' heads in the right place and let them play, As a team our defense must improve."
Scott, whose 1,567 career points stand seventh in Mighty Oaks history, 46 behind 1975 grad and sixth-place Bennie Edwards, sat out most of Tuesday's first half due to three early fouls. "Then I didn't stretch at halftime, and I think that led to back soreness the second half of that very physical game," the 21-year-old Scott said.
"Ohio State-Mansfield didn't play as tough a defense as Division I teams play. So tonight we had more opportunities and we took advantage."
The 23-year-old Worthington, after raising his Mighty Oaks career points total to within 63 of 1,000, said he "felt after Wednesday's practice that I'd play tonight. I did some stretching and running and felt a lot better. After Thursday's practice I felt fine.
"Tonight our team could have executed better, but we definitely improved," who listened to Tuesday's radio broadcast
Ohio State-Mansfield, to re-visit Oakland City for games December 15 and 16, after having a Friday opening when Ohio State-Lima dropped basketball, received 17 points and 5 rebounds from 5-9 freshman Ja'Shawn Campbell. His points included 5-for-8 three-point shooting. Six-three classmate Caleb Ramey produced 15 points and 5 rebounds. Five-nine freshman Ja'Quan Campbell, Ja'Shawn's twin, parlayed eight points, four assists and a game-high four steals. "We must improve defensively, especially on the baseline," said Nelson.
Similarly, "Our defense must improve. They were running by us. Considering our early-season schedule, our defense must get with it, and soon," said Sandifar, who sent 12 players into action and received points and rebounds from 11. Each of the freshman trio of Pike Central's Bryant Nalley, Evansville Central's Devon Mills and Irivington Prep Academy's DeShaun Kendrick scored his first OCU points. So did sophomore and Mighty Oaks baseball pitcher Austin Ladd, who didn't play hoops as a freshman.
College men's basketball
OHIO STATE-MANSFIELD (60)
Ramey 6-16 0-0 13, Lewis 3-8 0-2 7, Ja'Shawn Campbell 6-16 0-0 17, Ja'Quan Campbell 3-9 1-2 8, Jackson 1-10 1-4 3, Calo 3-5 1-4 9, Young 1-5 1-2 3. Totals: 23-69 4-14 60.
OAKLAND CITY (98)
Scott 9-13 1-2 23, Worthington 8-12 2-3 19, Robertson 2-9 0-0 4, Toopes 4-6 1-1 12, Hefner 5-8 5-5 15, Robinson 3-3 0-0 6, Nalley 2-4 0-0 4, Schmittler 3-5 0-0 6, Ladd 1-1 0-0 2, Mills 2-3 0-0 4, Hoover 0-1 0-1 0, Kendrick 1-3 0-0 3. Totals: 40-68 9-12 98.
Halftime: Oakland City, 48-20.
3-point goals -- Ohio State-Mansfield 10-27 (Ja'Shawn Campbell 5-8, Calo 2-3, Ramey 1-3, Ja'Quan Campbell 1-3, Lewis 1-5, Young 0-1, Jackson 0-4), Oakland City 9-18 (Scott 4-5, Toopes 3-5, Worthington 1-1, Kendrick 1-3, Hoover 0-1, Hefner 0-3). Fouls -- Ohio State-Mansfield 12, Oakland City 8. Fouled out -- none. Rebounds -- Ohio State-Mansfield 29 (Young 6), Oakland City 52 (Worthington 15). Assists -- Ohio State-Mansfield 9 (Ja'Quan Campbell 4), Oakland City 23 (Hefner 6). Steals -- Ohio State-Mansfield 11 (Ja'Quan Campbell 4), Oakland City 7 (Toopes 3). Shot-blocks -- Ohio State-Mansfield 1 (Young 1), Oakland City 7 (Scott 2, Worthington 2). Turnovers -- Ohio State-Mansfield 12, Oakland City 16.