Siloam Springs, Ark. (February 7, 2004) - For the first time this season, the John Brown University men’s basketball team has lost 3 in a row. NAIA No. 15 JBU was defeated 74-73 by St. Gregory’s University on Saturday afternoon in Siloam Springs. Going into the locker rooms at 43-43, JBU had tied the score with eight seconds remaining on two free throws by Ryan Woodson. The first half had been a three-point shooting dual as both teams hit eight shots from the beyond the three-point arc.
JBU was able strike first in the second half of play on a basket by Brandon Cole. However, the Cavaliers came right back to build a 7-point lead in the first five minutes of the last period before the Golden Eagles tied the game at 56 all on a trey by Alex Terry. JBU took the lead with 9:53 to play on a bucket by Abdiel Mendieta. St. Greg’s regained the lead when Noah Zuhdi hit a three-pointer at the 8:15 mark to put his team up 66-63. The Golden Eagles were not able to convert on several open looks they had in the last minutes of the game as the Cavaliers hung on for the win.
Reyjavick De Gracia recorded his fourth double-double of the season by scoring 18 points and contributing 14 rebounds. Cole tossed in 14 points with 12 of those coming on 4 three-pointers in the first half. Mendieta rounded out the double figure scoring for the Golden Eagles with his 13 points. For the Cavaliers, Tarin Baker with 21 and Brad Evans with 18 points topped the scoring for the visitors.
“We let them get too many open shots. We put too much pressure on our offense by playing poor defense,” stated JBU Coach John Sheehy after the game. “We must go back to the basics of JBU basketball. We have to have everyone step up to the challenge and come out ready to play. We have lost a lot of our focus and that really showed today in our defensive concentration. With seven conference games remaining, we still have time to get back on track.”
JBU goes to 18-6 on the season with the loss and 6-5 in the Sooner Conference. The Golden Eagles will be on the road next week for both games. On Thursday, JBU travels to Chickasha, Oklahoma to play Science and Arts of Oklahoma at 8:00 pm and then goes to Alva, Oklahoma on Saturday for a 3:00 pm contest with Northwestern Oklahoma State University.