Jacobe Johnson drove the middle of the lane and skied for a rim-rocking jam that quickly ignited an already rowdy Mustang student section on Friday night.
The one-handed flush helped ice a 69-57 win over Edmond Santa Fe at the Event Center. It also capped a wave of momentum that started after the Wolves tied the game midway through the fourth quarter.
“It was a gritty win,” Mustang coach Scott Hodges said. “Every conference game is like that. You have to find a way to win at the end and I think we did that.”
Jacobe Johnson skies for a dunk during Mustang’s 69-57 win over Edmond Santa Fe on Friday, Dec. 1, 2022, at the Mustang Event Center. Johnson finished with a game-high 27 points as the Broncos moved to 2-0. (Photo by Shelly Holinsworth / Freelance Action Photography)
Santa Fe guard Maikhi Chambers hit the back end of two free throws to tie the game 51-51 with just over four minutes remaining. The Bronco lead had ballooned to nine points during the third period.
Mustang (2-0) answered with back-to-back buckets from guard Chance Rodgers (So.) and forward Thai Bond (Sr.), starting a 10-point run that included two free throws and a deuce from a technical foul assessed to Santa Fe coach Troy Lallemand.
Two final free throws from Johnson, who finished with a game-high 27 points, made it an 18-6 run and two straight wins for the Broncos.
“We started to lock down on defense and started guarding the ball much better,” Hodges said of the late burst. “We weren’t guarding the ball well, which forced us to help and made it possible for them to dish it down low to their big guys.
“Making that a little bit tougher on them and just executing down the stretch and hitting free throws was big.”
The Broncos took control of the game early, opening with a 24-12 run in the first quarter.
Rodgers, who scored 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting, swished three triples to fuel the team’s first-quarter fire. Johnson added seven points in the first eight minutes while forward Roman Miller (So.) tallied six.
Hodges was impressed not only with Johnson’s performance, but also with the team’s underclassmen, including Michael Vincent, who has now made two starts as a freshman.
Roman Miller (So.) drives past a defender during Mustang’s 69-57 win over Edmond Santa Fe on Friday, Dec. 1, 2022, at the Mustang Event Center. Miller scored 14 points with one assist. (Photo by Shelly Holinsworth / Freelance Action Photography)
“They’re studs,” Hodges said. “Roman and Chance didn’t get a chance to play a lot as freshmen and they came out and have played really well. Chance was huge early in the game hitting those shots. Mike is another guy who has stepped into a spot and has done a great job of being physical.
“Tonight showed that we definitely have a bright future. We’re really excited about this team.”
The Wolves (0-1) bounced back with a 16-10 run in the second quarter, cutting Mustang’s lead to 34-28 at halftime. They made it 49-45 after a closely contested third quarter.
Forwards Drelen Nero and Tristan Peters combined for 17 points in the second and third quarter to help Santa Fe inch back into the game. Nero finished with a team-high 16 points while Peters scored 14.
The Broncos adjusted defensively and held the Santa Fe front court to just one bucket in the final eight minutes.
“I told them before the game this was almost like a scrimmage for us because we’ve only had our full team together for like a week and a half,” Hodges said. “That kind of showed throughout the course of the game.
“We’re a young team, so we’ll have our ups and downs because of that inexperience. But the most important thing was finding a way to win late and we did that.”
Mustang shot 50-percent from the floor, including 6-for-18 from three-point range. The Broncos turned the ball over just seven times while forcing the Wolves to give it up 20 times.
Johnson led the team with five rebounds while guards Keegan Bass (Sr.) and Bryson Sharp (Sr.) each grabbed three. Johnson and Sharp each dished out three assists.
Mustang hits the road to take on conference rival Norman (0-1) on Tuesday before heading to Tulsa for the Bishop Kelley Tournament this weekend. The Broncos return home on Dec. 16 to host Southmoore (2-0).