From SWOSU Sports
Doug Self, Sports Information Director

WEATHERFORD, Okla. – Markeise Champion hit five free throws in the final 12.1 seconds to lift the SWOSU Men’s Basketball to their first victory of the season by a score of 80-76 over Southern Arkansas on Saturday afternoon in the Bulldogs Return to Rankin Williams Fieldhouse.

The game saw four lead changes and was tied five times during the first half, the final one at 37-all after Collin Jennings got a lay-in with three seconds left to send the game to the break tied. Things remained close throughout the second half, with the game staying tied 13 more times while neither team could earn a lead of more than five points during the final 20 minutes of action.

The final tie of the contest came with 4:07 to play with Jennings getting a layup that made it 69-all, a score that wouldn’t last long with Champion knocking down a step-back three-pointer on the next possession to give the edge back to the Bulldogs. A pair of free throws from Altez Davis with 2:43 to play pushed the lead out to five, but the Dawgs still had to hold off SAU down the stretch.

A pair of free throws from SAU’s Keeton Tennison made it a one-point game, 75-74, with 1:23 to play, which is where the score would remain until the final seconds after each team missed a three-pointer on their next possession. With the shot clock running out, SWOSU’s senior point guard, Champion, made a play for a another three pointer, but this time got fouled and sent to the line with 12.1 seconds to play.

Champion knocked down all three free throws to make it a four-point game, then hit two more free throws after an SAU basket to secure the victory with a final score of 80-76.

Reshardd Harris had a big day for the Dawgs, recording a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes. Champion had 20 points and four assists, while Devin Pugh added 14 points and Daniel Eibel chipped in a season-best 13 points.

“I’m proud of our guys for the way they fought tonight,” SWOSU Head Coach Bob Battisti said. “They have continued to fight all season, even when things haven’t gone our way and it feels good to get a victory back in our old home of Rankin Williams Fieldhouse.”

After facing a daunting early-season schedule, SWOSU gets their first win of the year, improving to 1-6 (1-3 GAC) heading into a trio of non-conference games to conclude the calendar year. The Dawgs are back inside the Pioneer Cellular Event Center on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm to face Cameron.