Second Half Push Lands John Brown 76-62 Win over St. Gregory's
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (February 2, 2013) - With 8:52 remaining and the game tied at 50 apiece, three consecutive John Brown three-pointers found its target, leading to an 11-0 run that would place the game out of the Cavaliers' reach as the No. 6 Golden Eagles downed St. Gregory's, 76-62, Saturday night at Bill George Arena.
Fighting to regain its footing after faltering at Wayland Baptist last Saturday, the Golden Eagles (20-4, 9-1 SAC) notched two victories at the friendly confines of Bill George Arena this week, securing John Brown's ninth win in its last ten contests.
Despite holding the Cavaliers (6-13, 0-9 SAC) to only a single field goal over the first 11:04 of the first half, Sooner Athletic Conference leading scorer Fayzon Richey did his best to keep SGU in the contest, finishing with a game-high 19 points as his counterpart Brock Vorwald drained a game-high six triples. Besides the dynamic duo, the John Brown defense held the rest of St. Gregory's scorers to 25 combined points.
The hot three-point shooting of freshman guard Kofi Josephs surfaced again this afternoon, as he knocked down five triples and pulled down three rebounds to pace all JBU scorers. Not to be outdone, senior guard Coleson Rakestraw also converted five shots from behind the arc en route to a 15-point finish. Fresh off his career-setting night, sophomore forward Max Hopfgartner scored the first 10 John Brown points of the evening, finishing with 12 points and six boards.
JBU's deep bench proved the difference again, outscoring the Cavalier reserves 26-10 as senior guard E.J. McWoods chipped in with eight points while senior guard Abel Galliguez added five points and six assists.
Brock Vorwald's triple at the top of the arc kept St. Gregory's close, 15-11, despite only hitting a single field goal prior to the triple. The Cavaliers, prior to that, had knocked down six free throws to maintain its proximity to the Golden Eagles. Nate Anderson would later contribute a bucket down low and a pair of conversions from the charity stripe, helping JBU to grab 10 of 17 points scored over a 3:32 stretch late in the first half, resulting in a first-half high six-point advantage. The John Brown offense sputtered after that, however, turning the ball over four times and missing its only shot over the last three minutes, allowing the Cavs to claw within four, 27-23, at the intermission.
The Golden Eagles shot very well in the first stanza, converting at a 43.5 percent (10-of-23) clip while limiting the visitors to a meager 18.8 percent (6-of-32) shooting half. It was free throws that kept SGU in the game as all eight attempts were converted from the charity stripe.
The early goings of the second half featured the game's first tie when a Joseph's three-point miss was answered by the Cavaliers, handing St. Gregory's its first lead, 28-27. The lead was short-lived, however, as Josephs' next attempt at a long-range shot fell, placing the host squad back on top. The JBU advantage would build to five, 44-39, when another Josephs trey found the bottom of the basket with 13:44 remaining in the contest.
Richey then began to catch fire, knocking down six points over a 1:47 span that aided the Cavaliers in notching the game's second tie, 48-48. Richey's fourth bucket returned the lead back to the visitors for a short while until Hopfgartner gathered his first points since the opening minutes of the game, knotting the score at 50.
With under nine minutes left in the game, the John Brown distance shooting began to click as four three-pointers were earned by three different players. Josephs and Galliguez each earned a trey while Rakestraw nailed two over the next 5:03 handing the Golden Eagles a game-high 15-point lead, 68-53. Over the same span, the JBU defense forced seven Cavalier misses and a lone miscue to turn the advantage in favor of the home team for good, much to the delight of the raucous crowd's delight.
Over the final three minutes, John Brown converted all eight free throws attempted, including a 6-of-6 effort from McWoods as the Golden Eagles captured its 20th win of the season, 76-62.
The win marks a program record for JBU as no other men's basketball team has reached the 20 win plateau in so few games (24).
John Brown will have little time to rest as the Golden Eagles will return to action on Monday, Feb. 4, when it pays a visit to Claremore, Okla., and the No. 20 Hillcats of Rogers State. The Hillcats will be facing John Brown fresh off a 59-55 road win in Shawnee, Okla., over the No. 9 Oklahoma Baptist Bison. JBU won the lone previous meeting between the two programs this season on Jan. 12, fending off an RSU basket that occurred just after the buzzer, holding onto an 81-80 victory at Bill George Arena. Tip-off is set to begin at 8:00 p.m.