OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (January 7, 2016) -- Powered by 15 first-half points from senior Griffin Brady, the John Brown men’s basketball team (7-8, 0-3 SAC) played Mid-America Christian (Okla.) to a 42-all halftime score, but the Evangels out-scored the Golden Eagles 51-33 in the second frame to claim a 93-75 decision on Thursday (Jan. 7) night at the Gaulke Activities Center.
Brady scored JBU’s first 13 points on the night, keeping the visitors in contention in a 14-13 contest. It wasn’t until the second half, however, that MACU held John Brown to a 27.9 percent shooting mark from the floor and eight turnovers did the Evangels claim the victory.
The loss keeps John Brown winless in Sooner Athletic play at an 0-3 mark, its first such record since an 0-4 start to the 1998-99 conference slate.
“That was the most offensively-talented team we have played this year,” said head coach Jason Beschta. “MACU has so many weapons and can hurt you in so many ways. As soon as we didn’t get back in transition, they pounced at the opportunities and built a quick 10-point lead that we never could recover from. I thought that we played a solid first half and were really committed to our defensive principles.
“We also did a great job of finding the open man for the best shots, and Griffin [Brady] was really keeping us in the game hitting shot after shot. We just need to execute for both halves, because in this league, teams are too good to relax on them for even a minute. Saturday at Oklahoma City is going to be a great test and opportunity for us to build on tonight and put together a 40-minute game.”
Junior Nate Anderson hit a 19-foot jumper at the 4:20 mark to continue JBU’s 13-2 rally to force a 31-27 Golden Eagle lead. On the next trip down the floor, freshman Marquis Waller took a pass at the right arc and waltzed to the bucket and elevated to throw down a huge jam over MACU’s Jason Nwisienyi and collected the bonus shot with the foul.
Junior Zach English connected on his first triple of the game at the 3:53 mark to extend JBU’s lead to a game-high seven points, 37-30, but the Golden Eagles would score just one field goal for the remainder of the half as the Evangels closed the period on a 12-5 rally, knotting the score at 42 apiece at the break.
Junior Ricky Roberts hit three buckets, including a triple, to open the second half, keeping the visitors within a 51-49 margin. However, the Evangels caught fire and ran away on a 15-7 rally to take a 10-point lead, 66-56, in just a 3:11 span.
Brady tried to orchestrate one last push with a pair at the line, a bucket down low and his fourth trey of the game to pull the Golden Eagles back to within three, 70-67. However, John Brown was limited to two field goals, both triples, for the remaining 10:58 of the half.
JBU finished the game just 2-of-23 from the field and committed seven turnovers.
Brady continued his career season with a game-best 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, including a 5-of-8 mark from downtown. Equaling Brady’s team-best seven boards, Roberts added 11 points and three helpers. Senior Luke Moyer was limited to six points on 2-of-12 shooting from the field. Waller and freshman Josh Bowling provided eight points each for the Golden Eagles off the bench.
Despite winning the rebounding battle 52-49, John Brown could turn 15 offensive rebounds into just 15 second-chance points. JBU shot 27-of-84 (32.1 percent) on the night, compared to MACU’s 46.6 percent (34-of-73) effort.
JBU will return to action on Saturday (Jan. 9) when it travels to Oklahoma City to face the Stars in a 5 p.m. matinee showdown.