Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 15, 2004) - No. 13 John Brown University outlasted Oklahoma City University on Thursday evening in Siloam Springs for a 96-89 victory. With JBU on top 35 – 32 at half and pulling away to a 14 point lead late in the second half; the Stars kept battling back and closed the gap to the final 7-point deficit. After receiving an injury to the face requiring five stitches in the latter minutes of the first half sophomore Brandon Cole came back in the second half to give the Golden Eagles a shot in the arm with 9 points in less than two minutes. Starting with four minutes left to play, junior Reyjavick De Gracia poured in eleven points in less than three minutes to help insure the victory.
De Gracia led the way with 26 points and senior Abdiel Mendieta had several crucial baskets to end up with 22 points and Cole, despite the injury, finished the night with 15. Freshmen Brandon Brown pulled down 8 rebounds and also added 11 points. Leading Oklahoma City was Eric Tatum with 23 points followed by Aundrae Grayson with 19 points.
“The fan support tonight was tremendous and helped us at key times in the game,” commented JBU Coach John Sheehy after the win. “This support, I believe, made the difference tonight,” he continued. “I was pleased to see the work this week pay off for Abdiel since he had been struggling in the past few games. He (Mendieta) hit some big three-pointers for us tonight. Rey (De Gracia) had a solid performance and got some key baskets at the end of the game. Although we had good defensive effort, we still need to improve on cutting the opponent’s field goal percentage down.”
JBU improves in the Sooner Athletic Conference to 2-2 and 11-3 overall. The Golden Eagles will travel to Shawnee, Oklahoma to face St. Gregory’s on Saturday afternoon at 3 pm.