Siloam Springs, Ark. (March 15, 2006) - The John Brown Golden Eagles made a valiant effort from November through March to defend their 2005 NAIA Division I National Championship, but sometimes even the best efforts come short, and some things are not meant to be. In a rematch of last season’s national championship game, 6th-seeded Azusa Pacific scooted past John Brown 65-63 Wednesday night before 3,000 fans in Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.
Both teams got slow starts as the score after 6:38 was just 8-7 Azusa. Then John Brown’s Adam Workman hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Golden Eagles a 19-17 lead with 8:54 remaining. He then drained another set of back-to-back treys to put John Brown up 27-21 with 6:49 left before halftime. Cody Page pushed the John Brown lead to 11, 32-21, with a 3-pointer at the 5:37 mark. Wes Brown hit a bucket to put the Golden Eagles ahead 38-26 with 2:20 left, and Alex Terry made a basket in the paint to give John Brown its largest lead, 40-26 with 45 seconds left until the break.
Azusa Pacific’s comeback began at that point, as the Cougars cut the deficit to 44-35 at halftime. The rally then began in earnest in the opening 3:45 of the second half as Azusa Pacific went on a 10-2 run to close the gap to 46-45. Brandon Cole hit his first 3-pointer for John Brown at 16:15 to stretch the Golden Eagle lead to 49-45. Alex Terry hit a fade-away jumper at 9:56 to again keep John Brown up 57-53. Cole made his second trey at 6:19 to make the score 60-55.
The Cougars, meanwhile, had been nipping at the Golden Eagle lead, closing it to one and then tying once, but never taking the lead. That is, until Demario Butler hit two free throws at 1:17 to put Azusa Pacific up 63-62. Scott Zea fouled Cole twice in the final minute, and after Cole made two of his three foul-shot attempts, the scored was tied 63-63 with 18.9 seconds left. Azusa Pacific called a timeout with 13 seconds remaining to set up a final scoring play. The initial shot missed, but Butler tipped in the rebound to make the score 65-63. The Golden Eagles missed a shot at the buzzer.
After the game, head coach John Sheehy commented, “We worked hard to get ourselves into a position to advance in the tournament again, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. We scored 19 points in the second half and were still in a position to win.”
Alex Terry closed a stellar career as John Brown’s point guard with one of his best performances ever: 16 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and just 3 turnovers. Brandon Cole’s unbelievable collegiate career ended as well with a 13-point, 6-rebound outing. He extended his all-time collegiate record for 3-point baskets to 527 and finished his career as JBU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,390 points. Terry closed his Golden Eagle record book as the school’s assist leader with 725.
Workman finished the game with 12 points, and Page scored 10.
Tristan King led Azusa Pacific with 19 points, and Butler added 16 points and 10 rebounds.