Braves return to form, rout Oklahoma Wesleyan

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
Ottawa University senior Andre Jackson drives the lane aggressively to knock down a shot against Oklahoma Wesleyan.

The Ottawa University men’s basketball team broke out of its doldrums Thursday night in Wilson Field House.

The Braves returned to their style of basketball, and it came at a good time. Ottawa’s defense was on point and the offense was sharp in a 99-83 win over Oklahoma Wesleyan. The win is OU's 30th at home since the 2018-19 season.

“That was Braves basketball,” Ottawa coach Aaron Siebenthall said. “That is how we play. That is how good we can be. A lot of hurdles were thrown our way. Unique things and things that are hard to deal with. Our guys have overcome a lot.

“That was what we needed when we needed it. This is a good team and to beat them soundly going into break, reaffirms the team we can be. I am super excited for those guys to play that way heading into break.”

Ottawa’s game Saturday against Bethany was postponed, so it was the final game before the holiday break. Ottawa (5-4, 3-4) returns to action at home Jan. 2 against Tabor College.

All facets were on display against Oklahoma Wesleyan. Ottawa played hard-nosed defense, hit the boards, made the extra pass and punished Oklahoma Wesleyan in transition.

“When we are organized and doing things we have worked on, we usually get good results,” Siebenthall said. “If we keep sticking to team things, things will be good for us.

“That is a talented basketball team (we beat. Our effort has been there most of the year. We have not been on the same page. We have had stretches where we have played well on both ends. We have not put a 40-minute game together. This is a lot closer. Scoring has not been our problem. Defensively, we have not been very good. We were really good defensively for a long period of time.”

Ottawa had a season-low nine turnovers and returned to balanced scoring.

“When the ball moves and we move, we are hard to guard because we can all shoot,” Siebenthall said. “It was so many extra passes. It was unselfish. It was a total team effort. That is the best the ball has moved. It is a good combination for us. The best defense we have played along with the best the ball has moved. We have enough weapons that if the ball moves, it will find the right guy.”

One of those players was senior Jaquan Daniels, who scored more than 30 points for the third time this season. He finished with 33 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the floor. Daniels also had six rebounds and four steals.

“He is thrust into our leading scorer-type role,” Siebenthall said. “That is new for him. He is so good defensively. He is really athletic. He is making really good decisions with the ball.”

Ian Moore tossed in19 points. Perry Carroll finished with 17 points and a team-best six assists. Andre Jackson had 10 points.