Josephs' Career-High 26 Points Leads John Brown Past Rogers State, 81-74
CLAREMORE, Okla. (February 4, 2013) - Freshman guard Kofi Josephs turned in the game of his career, scoring a game-high 26 points while pulling down 11 rebounds, both career highs, as the No. 6 Golden Eagles (21-4, 10-1 SAC) turned a 64-64 deadlock into an 81-74 victory over No. 20 Rogers State (17-7, 5-5 SAC) on Monday night at the Claremore Expo Center.
Josephs proved unstoppable tonight, finishing a perfect 4-of-4 from inside the arc, but more impressively, he converted 5-of-7 three-pointers attempted in addition to a 3-of-3 night at the charity stripe. Josephs, who entered the game averaging 9.5 points per game, bested his previous personal-high of 21 points secured earlier this semester in a 75-70 win at then-No. 5 Oklahoma Baptist on Jan. 17.
"I thought Kofi played an exceptional game for us tonight," said head coach Clark Sheehy. "We know he can shoot the three, but for him to hit all four shots he took inside the arc while grabbing 11 rebounds, it was really good for us. Some of our other guys didn't have the production they normally do, so for him to step up in a game like this and in this atmosphere was really impressive."
The Golden Eagles continued its torrid three-point shooting, knocking down 12 triples, closing out the game at a 52.2 percent shooting clip from behind the arc. John Brown continues at the No. 3 slot in the nation in three-pointers made per game (10.0) and total triples made (240). JBU earned six treys in each half as six different scorers landed baskets from long-range distances. John Brown has now earned double-digit triple performances in 12 consecutive games.
In a very physical matchup that saw each team in the bonus early in both halves, the visitors' reserves made a meaningful impact, outscoring the Hillcat bench 24-13, paced by freshman forward D'Shon Taylor's 10-point performance. Senior guards Abel Galliguez and E.J. McWoods chipped in with nine points apiece.
Despite outrebounding the host squad by a single carom, 36-35, Rogers State managed 16 offensive rebounds, converting the extra opportunities into 17 second-chance points. RSU also managed the post game effectively, only allowing JBU big men Max Hopfgartner and Nate Anderson seven combined points, and edged JBU in point in the paint, 38-22.
"We didn't do a very good job getting inside," Sheehy admitted. "We let them get too many offensive rebounds. That's definitely something we need to address in order to make the strides we're looking to take."
A pair of Hillcat free throws at the 4:17 mark of the second stanza forced the eighth tie of the game as both teams were knotted a 64 apiece. After a pair of Taylor makes from the charity stripe, the Golden Eagle defense forced an RSU offensive foul, setting up what was perhaps the turning point in the game. Josephs took a handoff from Galliguez at the top of the arc, drove right and held off a Hillcat defender long enough to make the extended layup while earning a chance at a three-point play.
Josephs converted the traditional three-point play and gave John Brown its greatest lead since a six-point advantage at the 16:05 mark earlier in the half. The Golden Eagles maintained its lead when Coleson Rakestraw added four-consecutive points, the first bucket off an acrobatic put-back of a Galliguez misfire before adding two more at the free throw line.
McWoods earned six of his nine points in the final minute of the game, including a game-sealing drive to the basket that saw the senior guard gingerly drop in a reverse layup as he spun to the basket. McWoods calmly nailed all four free-throw attempts over the final minute to seal the 81-74 victory.
The second half featured four ties and three lead changes as the pair of top-25 programs battled to its second closely-contested match of the season. John Brown won the previous matchup on Jan. 12, 81-80. Rogers State held a 40-36 lead at the half, but Josephs' 21-point second half, 4-of-6 from three-point range, aided the Golden Eagles in grabbing a 45-35 scoring advantage over the final 20 minutes of play.
John Brown shot well all night, finishing 25-of-51 (49.0 percent), but more importantly dropped 12-of-23 chances from behind the arc. The Hillcats attempted 10 more shots, turning in a 26-of-61 effort (42.6 percent). The Golden Eagles narrowly edged RSU at the free throw line, converting 19, three more than the opposition. Each team attempted 25 shots from the charity stripe.
"One of our biggest strengths is that it could be any guy on any given night," said Sheehy of his bench's performance. "D'Shon came in and gave us 10 points, but more importantly Abel, Coleson and E.J. do such a great job with our younger guys. I'm thrilled we have a number of guys that can contribute in a big way on any given night."
The Golden Eagles, after playing its second round of three games in five days this semester, will have six days to rest until it travels to Oklahoma City (11-7, 4-6 SAC) to face the Stars on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 5:00 p.m.