The Western Oklahoma State College Pioneers fell to the Eastern Oklahoma State College Mountaineers 86-81 after Johnson injury.


By Ryan Lewis - ryan@altustimes.com



Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Jeshon Jones (4) knocks down a layup in a game against Northern Oklahoma College. Jones scored 15 points against Eastern Oklahoma State College in Darron Johnson’s absence.


Going into Monday’s matchup with Eastern Oklahoma State College, Darron Johnson needed to score approximately 20 points to claim the spot as the nation’s leading scorer. But Johnson himself couldn’t have predicted the game would end for him the way it did.

He said the game started badly for him and stayed that way with Johnson eventually being removed from the game after getting hit in the eye during the Pioneers’, 86-81, loss.

“I was in early foul trouble and didn’t play the majority of the first half,” Johnson said. “In the second half, I got hit in the eye and was taken out of the game so everything was going wrong for me. We still had a good chance of winning the game but shot poorly from the free throw line and went 0-for-17 from three.”

At the charity stripe, the Pioneers shot a season-low 48.4 percent, converting just 15 of their 31 attempts. Just five more makes would have tied the game for Western while six would have won it. It was something not out of the realm of possibility considering Western was a 70-percent free-throw-shooting team prior to Monday’s game.

But with Johnson on the sidelines, the Pioneers struggled. His absence prompted four other players to step up and help out.

Starter Seljah Johnson finished 9-of-15 from the field for 22 points while also pulling down 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Troy Green was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field for eight points but Bernat Arellano struggled, scoring just five points during a 1-for-10 shooting night.

Seljah Johnson’s impact was felt on the court almost immediately. He was the only starter to score in the double digits in the game. The other three came from Western’s reserves.

Reserves Jeshon Jones, Daiquan Wyatt and Obiajulum Okafor took the game over for the Pioneers with the starters struggling. The three players shot a combined 47 percent from the field but also accounted for 11 of the Pioneers 16 misses at the free throw line.

Despite the struggles of the teams, the Pioneers battled in the second half of basketball, coming from nine down at the break to pull within five as the game ended.

The loss was Western’s third in the past five games but this loss was a bit different than others. The Pioneers fought despite losing their best scorer and showed what the team is capable of when their backs are against the wall.

Playing in the game made Darron Johnson eligible for the points per game leaderboard and at 25.6, he is ranked sixth in the nation, less than one point removed from the first-ranked total of 26.4 that currently belongs to Trevelin Queen of New Mexico Military Institute.

Darron Johnson said that the recognition is nice but winning is the priority.

“I feel like, at this point, everything is important to me,” Darron Johnson said. “I want to be number one in everything, including winning as a team. We just need to fix small mistakes and we’ll be fine.”

The Pioneers will be back in action tonight when they travel to Warner to take on the Connors State Cowboys at 7 p.m.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Jeshon Jones (4) knocks down a layup in a game against Northern Oklahoma College. Jones scored 15 points against Eastern Oklahoma State College in Darron Johnson’s absence.
http://www.altustimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Northern-at-Western-Men-4201811013122216.jpgRick Carpenter | Altus Times Jeshon Jones (4) knocks down a layup in a game against Northern Oklahoma College. Jones scored 15 points against Eastern Oklahoma State College in Darron Johnson’s absence.

By Ryan Lewis

ryan@altustimes.com

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.

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