Moyer’s Triples, Second-Half Start Wins JBU Shootout in Bethany

BETHANY, Okla. (January 14, 2016) -- Entering the game as the hottest team in the Sooner Athletic, Southwestern Christian (Okla.) couldn’t muster an answer as the John Brown men’s basketball team (9-8, 2-3 SAC) moved over .500 after a convincing 88-77 barn-burner on Thursday (Jan. 14) night inside Pickens-Springer Gymnasium.

Senior Luke Moyer was one shy of tying a career high with six triples en route to a team-high 24 points, finishing the game 6-of-14 from behind the arc, to power JBU to a 14-of-33 mark from downtown. Averaging a 37.7 percent mark from three on the season, the Golden Eagles hit 42.4 percent of its chances and limited the hosts to a 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) clip from downtown.

Moyer’s second-straight 20-point outburst came in a much-needed contest. Southwestern Christian had won four straight, including decisive wins at home over then-No. 18 Southwestern A.G. (Texas) and then-No. 13 Texas Wesleyan. The Golden Eagles have now won consecutive road contests for the first time this season while SCU falls to 4-2 at home on the year.

“Tonight was one of the best, if not the best, jobs we did playing our game,” said head coach Jason Beschta. “It started with a great commitment on the defensive end, and we kept working for great shots on offense rather than settling for just mediocre ones. We have been playing to our depth more in recent games and getting significant contributions from our bench. Nate was all over the place tonight blocking shots, chasing down rebounds and nailing shots, maybe the best all-around game I have seen him play.”

Junior Nate Anderson contributed eight points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting mark and grabbed eight boards and rejected four Eagle shot attempts, powering the JBU bench to a 33-10 scoring advantage over the SCU reserves.

“Every game is going to be a battle in this league,” Beschta added, “and SCU has been one of the hottest teams in the conference. This game show us what level we are capable of playing when we play with an edge, when we care about the right things, and when we play together.”

Although the final margin was just 11, John Brown held as large as a 22-point lead midway through the second half. Senior Brady Griffin hit a pair from the arc, followed by another triple from freshman Brandon Joseph to build a 70-48 lead at the 9:28 mark. With the hosts finally hitting a few triple attempts, a pair of Anderson field goals book-ended Joseph’s second triple in 60 seconds to maintain a 21-point lead.

Despite a desperate 11-1 run by the Eagles, Moyer’s trey at the 1:38 mark ended any far-fetched hopes of a comeback.

SCU held a quick 4-0 lead to kick the game off, but triples from junior Zach English and Moyer gave the visitors a 6-4 lead and John Brown wouldn’t trail for the remainder of the contest. Freshman Benjamin Smith kick-off an 11-4 rally that featured an and-one from freshman Marquis Waller and buckets from Anderson and Smith again to stake a 10-point lead, 24-14, with just over seven to play in the half.

A half-ending quick 6-0 run brought the Eagles within five, but freshman Jake Caudle hit a timely triple with 18 seconds left to maintain JBU’s eight-point advantage, 41-33.

John Brown, however, continued that momentum into the second period, mounting a 16-5 run over the first 5:04 of the half. Junior Ricky Roberts hit a bucket that was followed quickly by English’s second trey of the game. Held scoreless in the first half, senior Griffin Brady hit his first basket while Roberts added two more scores, finally capped off with a Moyer triple.

Up 57-38 at the 14:56 mark, the Golden Eagles continued to cruise. Brady went on a person 10-point run over a 3:35 span before Josephs continued the run with his pair of triples.

The Golden Eagles controlled the glass, 34-31, and limited SCU to two main scorers, James Still and Marvin White. Still, a 15-point scorer over just four games played, notched a game-best 27 while White added 24, 11 of which came in the final 5:04 of the game.

While both teams shot over 45 percent, John Brown converted 10 offensive boards into 12 second-chance points. The Eagles only managed six, scoring four on second possessions.

Roberts finished with 13 points and three assists while Brady avenged a scoreless first half to add 12 points, seven caroms and three assists in the win.

Now the Golden Eagles will face the highest-ranked team in the conference, No. 11 Texas Wesleyan, when the squads face off at Bill George Arena on Saturday (Jan. 16) at 3 p.m. The Golden Eagles won both outings with the Rams last season.

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