By Daegiona Wilson
Staff reporter

The Moundbuilder basketball team has shown a different side of potential after falling to the Bethany Swedes 84-66 earlier this month.

They clinched a four-game winning streak after defeating conference rival, Oklahoma Wesleyan 79-72 Monday evening.

The Builders have been victorious against the Eagles four out of their last five meetings, although each game has only been separated by four or fewer points.

This game was no different as OKWU started out hot behind the arc, leading the Builders 19-12 in the first 10 minutes of play.

Jimmy McSorley, assistant coach, said “We knew we were going to get hit in the mouth. They are a very skilled and tough team.”

“Our guys are challenged with adversity every day in practice for times like this. We are fortunate to have a very resilient group of guys.”

The Builders later went on a run of their own, taking a 25-21 lead with 8:31 to go in the first half.

Each side settled down offensively, as the Builders took a 35-30 lead heading into halftime.

As expected, the second half was energetic from start to finish. The Eagles were held to 38 percent from the field, with the Builders 46 percent.

It was Noah Webster, senior guard, who came up big from the Builders draining five points in the final minutes of play to lift the Builders past the Eagles.

“We outworked them. Plain and simple. That’s all coach asked us to do, and I think we did it pretty well” said Webster.

Webster hasn’t been the go-to guy for the Builders but has played his part, knocking down shots late, and handling the ball effectively. Webster has been a primary go-to when fighting through full-court presses, a component that the Builders have been known to struggle with.

With the Builders struggling early in the season to find an offensive rhythm, a hot commodity that has been key in recent games is Zhahidi Robinson, sophomore guard.

Robinson didn’t see the Builders first team early this season, but that changed quickly as he made an immediate impact once hitting the court mid Nov.

Robinson finished the night with 33 points, going 9-15 from the field, and shooting 50 percent behind the arc.

“My coaches and teammates are putting me in positions to succeed and put the ball in the rim,” said Robinson.

McSorley said, “He has done a great job of just playing. His style of play keeps everyone on their toes including our own guys.”

“You never know when he may make a play for the team whether it be for him or a teammate. When he is pushing the ball in transition, we are a much better team offensively.”

Robinsons partner in crime has been Steele Gaston-Chapman, freshman guard. The offensive player of the week added to the scores column, with 14 points and 5-11 from the field.

Brook Haddock, senior guard, caused trouble for the Builder defensive throughout the second half as he went for 24 points on the night, putting up a few late baskets to keep the Eagles in the game.

Kaleb Stokes, sophomore forward, and Taylen Miller, sophomore guard, also contributed for the Eagles, going for 17 and 13 points, respectively.

Other Builder standouts include Braylon Steen, junior guard, who came away with 14 points on 5-10 from the field. Troy Baker, senior forward, and defensive player of the week grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.

This win brings the Builders to 8-4 in conference play, and knocks the Eagles, defending KCAC conference tournament champions to 8-4.

These two teams will square off again Feb. 10 in Bartlesville, OK.

As for the Builders, they next look to face the Ottawa Braves Wednesday evening, for the second time in just two weeks.

Webster said, “With the talent we have, I think what we need to do is outwork them. It sounds simple, but hard work on the court is what is going to get you in the winning column at the end of the day.”

Robinson said the Builders must, “Follow through with scouting report and simply score more points than they do.”

Tipoff is 7 p.m. out of Wilson Fieldhouse.

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