Drury finished the game on a 31-7 run over the final eight minutes to pull away from Central Oklahoma for an 87-57 victory in the Comfort Inn/Drury Thanksgiving Classic Friday evening at the O'Reilly Family Event Center.
Brandon Lockhart fought off foul troubles to lead four Panthers in double-figures with 18 points and seven assists in just 21 minutes as Drury moved to 3-0 entering Saturday's 3:15 p.m. game against Arkansas Tech (1-1). The Wonder Boys rallied from a 19-point deficit in the opening half to defeat Missouri-St. Louis 77-74 in double-overtime in Friday's opener.
Drury led just 34-28 at halftime, hampered by a 41-percent shooting effort (13 of 32). But the Panthers heated up to hit 58 percent in the second half (19 of 33) to spark the pullaway.
Lockhart, who hit 5 of 7 shots, all three of his 3-pointers and all five of his free-throw attempts, played just eight minutes in the opening half after picking up two quick fouls, then adding a third before the half ended.
"He's the straw that stirs the drink, and for him to pick up early fouls ... hats off to some of our younger players who had to go in there and play in the first half," Drury coach Steve Hesser said.
That included sophomore guard Josh Buie, who had eight points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, a group that contributed 43 of Drury's 87 points.
Alex Hall had 17 points, Drake Patterson added a season-high 15 points off the bench and Cameron Adams had 11 points and 11 rebounds in a reserve role as the Panthers dominated a bigger Bronchos team 43-30 on the boards.
Josh Davis had 15 points to lead MIAA-member Central Oklahoma (1-3).
"We struggled to play (good) defense in the first half and into the second half," Hesser said. "They were getting stuff off the glass, off penetration, and we weren't helping. But we made a couple of big plays, had better ball movement and guys stepped up and made some shots in the second half that gave us more energy on defense."
Drury finished the game at 49 percent shooting (32 of 65), while UCO hit just 36 percent (20 of 55).