OKLAHOMA CITY (Feb. 6, 2016) – Oklahoma Christian's John Moon already had proven himself as the Heartland Conference's most dominant post player. If there was any doubt, it was completely removed Saturday afternoon with one of the greatest shooting performances in NCAA Division II history.
Moon poured in a school-record 50 points, hitting all 20 of his field-goal attempts, as the Eagles held on for a wild 104-92 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State in the Eagles' Nest.
The 7-foot junior from Crescent broke three school records and three conference records and tied two Division II marks as OC (6-16, 3-11 Heartland) moved within a game of ninth-place St. Mary's (Texas) for what figures to be the final bid for the league's postseason tournament. Both teams have six regular-season games remaining.
Moon entered the game averaging 21.3 points per game and won a duel with Panhandle State's Antonio Manns Jr., who scored 35 points in a losing effort. Moon and Manns Jr. are battling for the Heartland's scoring title.
OC coach Dan Hays compared Moon's performance to a famous outing by former UCLA All-American Bill Walton, who went 21-of-22 from the field and scored 44 points in the Bruins' win over Memphis in the 1973 NCAA Division I championship game.
"John was great in the first half with 22 points," Hays said. "He got some great feeds in the second half from his teammates and took it to another level."
That level was perfection.
Moon tied Division II records for single-game consecutive field goals (20) and single-game field-goal percentage (20-of-20). Both records were set by Lance Berwald of North Dakota State vs. Augustana (S.D.) on Feb. 17, 1984 – 32 years ago.
Two of the three school records Moon broke also were of similar vintage. OC's single-game scoring mark of 44 points had stood since Dec. 10, 1981, when Norvell Brown scored 44 points against Rockhurst (Mo.). The OC mark for field goals in a game had been 17, set by Reed Johnson against Southern Nazarene on Feb. 13, 1973.
Moon's other record was for field-goal percentage in a game and had been held by Will Reinke, who shot 92.3 percent (12 of 13) from the field in a win over Mid-America Christian on Jan. 2, 2012.
Three Heartland Conference records also fell under Moon's onslaught. The league's single-game scoring record had been 48, posted by Seth Youngblood of Arkansas-Fort Smith against Central Missouri on Nov. 29, 2014.
The previous single-game field-goal mark of 17 had been shared by Nick Fox of Dallas Baptist (Texas), who did so against Colorado Mines on Nov. 23, 2012, and Rob Harris of Texas-Permian Basin, who did so against Abilene Christian (Texas) on Nov. 24, 2008.
The conference's record for field-goal percentage in a game had been 13-of-13, set by Panhandle State's Jecorey Leggins against Emporia State (Kan.) on Nov. 28, 2003.
Lost in the hoopla over Moon's outing was a terrific performance by his teammate, Jordan Rutherford. The 6-foot-7 junior forward set career highs with 25 points and 10 rebounds and added seven assists, many on feeds to Moon.
OC never trailed Panhandle State (8-13, 1-12), but never quite pulled away enough for Moon or Rutherford to spend much, if any, time on the bench. Manns Jr. and Zoran Arsenovic, who scored 20 points, allowed the Aggies to stay within striking distance.
The Eagles jumped to a 17-0 lead before four minutes had elapsed and led by as many as 25 points before settling for a 48-25 halftime lead.
But Panhandle State scored 67 second-half points and was within 85-74 after a 3-pointer by Jared Straight with 5:46 left. The Aggies cut the margin to 10 twice in the final two minutes but came no closer.
Moon broke Brown's record with a basket with 3:06 left and hit the 50-point mark by scoring OC's final bucket with 39 seconds left.
Moon also went 10-of-13 from the free-throw line, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a shot, extending his consecutive-game streak in the latter category to 47 games. He also leads the Heartland in blocked shots and rebounding.
OC will return to action on Thursday night with a home game against Newman (Kan.)