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For the Western Oklahoma State College men’s basketball team, it has almost been a month since they last took the floor for the 2018-19 college basketball season.
The result was a, 62-59, loss to Clarendon that dropped the Pioneers to 6-7 on the season. It was a lackluster start to a season that held lots of promise as Western welcomed in a new group of players who appear capable of taking this team deep into the playoffs, but as anybody will tell you, there’s still plenty of basketball left to play.
The most impressive addition to the team has been Dylan O’Hearn. Since he first stepped onto the court at Western, O’Hearn has been a scoring machine. He’s tied with Obiajulum Okafor for the team lead in points per game at 14.6 but might stand alone as Western’s most consistent player.
In 12 starts this season, O’Hearn has made 53.5 percent of his shots from the field while also knocking down 44.4 percent of his shots from deep. He has been a hard player to contain and most teams find that out on Western’s first offensive possession.
His lowest scoring output of the season came against OKC Metro Prep where the freshman was limited in play, taking just five shots and making two for four points. Aside from that game, O’Hearn was held below 10 points in just two other games.
His best performance of the season came in a, 105-100, loss to Dodge City when he made 10 of his 15 shot attempts for 27 points. Five of his 10 makes were from three-point range.
Along with O’Hearn, Okafor has been another one of the Pioneers’ key playmakers.
Okafor has averaged 14.6 points per game while shooting 58.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range.
The sophomore has been dominant this season for Western after averaging just 6.4 points per game during his freshman year. He began the season with five straight double-digit scoring games before dropping 33 points on Southwest Christian. In that game, Okafor made 72.2 percent of his shots.
Since the Pioneers, 110-74, win over Southwest Christian, Okafor has been held below 10 points three times and has averaged 9.8 points per game over the last seven. He hasn’t played badly as he still made 62 percent of his shots, but he has been limited during a stretch where Western lost four of seven.
Whereas the Pioneers of last year benefited from the incredible play of Darron Johnson, this year’s team has had to rely on several to be successful. Cameron Enzor is averaging 12.6 points so far this season while Jeshon Jones is averaging 10.3 and Damien Sears is averaging 10.
At 6-7, there is still plenty of work needing to be done if the Pioneers hope to make the playoffs. Western has an opportunity to begin the new year with a win as they hit the road and take on the 4-10 Murray State Aggies on Monday, Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m.