Men's Basketball Hangs Close in Low Scoring Affair
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- Facing No. 13 Mid-America Christian (Okla.), the John Brown mens basketball team (11-16, 4-11 SAC) shot just 30.9 percent from the field but used strong defense to remain within striking distance in the second half, but ultimately fell in a 76-63 defeat to the Evangels (21-6, 11-4 SAC) on Thursday (Feb. 18) evening inside Bill George Arena.
For the first time this year, the Golden Eagles featured just one double-digit scorer, freshman Marquis Waller. Waller shot an efficient 4-of-8 from the field to finish with 12 points, including a one-handed slam off a service from freshman Brandon Joseph late in the second half. Waller completed his first-career double-double by grabbing 10 boards while adding three assists and a pair of steals in the loss.
With the win, MACU has won its last four against John Brown and swept the last two season series.
The win tonight also keeps MACU all alone in second place in the Sooner Athletic, holding a one-game lead over Oklahoma City University and remains two games behind front-runner Texas Wesleyan. The Golden Eagles are now eighth in the conference and are relegated to one of the two play-in games at the upcoming Sooner Athletic tournament.
The visitors entered the game averaging the sixth-best scoring output in the nation at 91.3 points per game.
MACU took control of tonight's contest early and took the lead for good on a bucket by Chris Runnels at the 13:49 mark of the first half before extending the edge to 14 when triples from Bryon Miller and Jerrick Massenburge capped a 10-0 spurt that created a 31-17 cushion for the visitors.
The Evangels led 35-25 at the break and put it away by outscoring the Golden Eagles 22-6 over a five-minute stretch in the second half that extended a six-point lead all the way to a 61-39 advantage with 9:34 remaining.
Nick Tate led the Evangels with 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field while Chris Runnels recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also tied a career high with four assists. Jerrick Massenburge also scored 15 points and hit 5-of-10 from the perimeter.
While the Evangels hit 11-of-30 (36.7 percent) from behind the arc, John Brown struggled all evening from downtown, connecting on just 7-of-38 (18.4 percent) and kick off the game just 2-of-10 from bonus range.
JBU held a narrow 42-38 advantage on the glass as freshman Benjamin Smith pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. The hosts forced 18 Evangel turnovers while only committing 16 of its own.
The Golden Eagles will look to end its current six-game losing skid when it welcomes Bacone (Okla.) to Bill George Arena on Saturday (Feb. 20) at 3 p.m. John Brown won this seasons first matchup between the two squads, 78-72, in Muskogee. Bacone will enter the game on a five-game losing streak.