Siloam Springs, Ark (March 28, 2003) - In a disappointing loss to Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) 83-78, the Golden Eagles were eliminated from the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City. After leading 42-40 at half, JBU was able to increase the lead to four at the seven-minute mark. A quick time out by Olivet coupled with three turnovers in the next minute allowed the Tigers to score seven unanswered points and gain a lead that JBU could not overcome. Early foul trouble by the inside men of JBU coupled with the offensive output of Jeremy Riddle, Olivet’s leading scorer on the season and for the game who pumped in 26 points, went a long way in helping the 24th ranked Tigers defeat John Brown.
After his 33-point effort in the opening game of the tournament, junior Abdiel Mendieta came back to pump in 18 points today in the losing effort. However, frosh Brandon Cole, the Golden Eagles leading scorer for the year, poured in seven three-pointers on his way to a 25-point scoring effort to lead JBU offensively.
Coach John Sheehy commended Olivet following the loss by saying, “Olivet is a good team that runs their offensive set very well. They hit some big shots at crucial times.” Sheehy continued by talking about the JBU effort for the day, “I am disappointed that we did not defend them any better. Defense has been the mainstay in our wins this season. We allowed them 83 points where we have been holding teams to 70 during the season.” When asked the turning point in the game, Sheehy responded with these words, “At the seven-minute point in the second half, we had a four-point lead. They called time out and in the next minute after the time out, we committed two to three turnovers that ONU converted into points. During that time we lost a four-point lead and found ourselves down by three. We never really recovered after that. The foul trouble that our big men got into early in the game had a huge impact on the outcome,” Sheehy continued. “We sent them to the foul line 31 times and they converted on 19 compared to our 12 attempts with only six made." Coach Sheehy ended by saying, “ we have to be pleased with the overall season, but it sure would have been nice to win today and have another opportunity in this tournament.”
John Brown University ends the season at 23-11. The 23 wins are the second most in a season by a JBU squad. One of Sheehy’s early teams (1990-1991) won 25 games and the National Christian College Association tournament to hold the school record.