John Brown University Upends Houston Baptist University

Kansas City, MO. (March 24, 2004) — John Brown University came out cold and trailed at the half 31-25, but caught fire in the second half and defeated No. 11 seed Houston Baptist University 72-64 in first round action at the Buffalo Funds NAIA National Basketball Tournament in Kansas City. In addition to the cold shooting in the first half, the Golden Eagles were also having trouble in the offensive rebounding department bringing down only 2 offensive boards. The 25 points in the first period is the lowest first half scoring effort by the Golden Eagles for the season.

The second half was a total turn-around as JBU outscored the Huskies 17-3 in the first 9 minutes and opened up an 18 point lead with 6:16 remaining in the game. After scoring only 5 points each in the first half, JBU’s leading scorers Brandon Cole and Abdiel Mendieta began to torch the nets and ended with 19 and 18 points respectively. Both Ryan Woodson and Reyjavick De Gracia fouled out in the closing minutes of the game but not before DeGracia scored 13 points and grabbed 5 rebounds while Woodson was pulling down 10 boards to lead the Golden Eagles in rebounding.

The win marked the second year in a row the Golden Eagles have upset a seeded team in the opening round of the National Tournament. In NAIA play, the Golden Eagles are now 2-1 and will play again on Friday afternoon at 4:30 in the round of 16 against the winner of the Concordia (CA) and St. Xavier (IL) game which is the last game on Wednesday night.

JBU Coach John Sheehy said, “the pace of the game was better for us than for Houston Baptist. They are a high powered offense and score an average of 92 points per game. Although we only scored 25 in the first half, by holding them to 31 set the tone for our move in the second period.” He continued by saying, “the real key to the win was the poor shooting on their part in the second half when they shot only 29% to our 46%. We stepped up the intensity after the halftime and that helped to build the lead allowing us to hold on when they regained the momentum in the last couple of minutes. It was gratifying to see our guys hang on when Houston Baptist pulled within 5 with two minutes left."