Strong Shooting Overcomes Turnovers and Ok Rebounds for Men’s Basketball at City

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (January 9, 2016) -- Entering the game averaging a 45.1 percent shooting efficiency, ranked No. 43 in the nation, the John Brown men’s basketball team (8-8, 1-3 SAC) shot 50 percent or better for the sixth time this season in a 75-64 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday (Jan. 9) afternoon inside Abe Lemons Arena.

JBU’s victory, its second in three games, comes despite City (6-4, 3-1 SAC) holding advantages in rebounds (42-35), turnovers (13-24) and shot attempts (72-42). The Golden Eagles responded with hitting 21-of-42 (50 percent) from the field and knocking down 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) from behind the arc.

Averaging just 8.6 points over his last three, senior Luke Moyer broke out for 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. Hitting 4-of-7 from behind the line, it’s his highest output since a career-best 30-point effort against Ecclesia (Ark.) on Dec. 11. After starting out just 1-of-4 in the first half, Moyer hit 5-of-8 in the second as the visitors posted a 46-38 margin on the Stars in the second period.

“I'm proud of our effort tonight and our ability to finish a game,” said head coach Jason Beschta. “After just an alright first half, we made some adjustments and did some things really well in the second. Though we didn't take care of the ball, defend or rebound like we need to, we did a phenomenal job of getting each other good shots and hitting them.”

Despite shooting 30 times less than Oklahoma City, mainly due to 20 offensive rebounds by the Stars, the Golden Eagles proved efficient at the stripe, hitting 23-of-28 (82.1 percent) as the hosts shot just 19, hitting 11 (57.9 percent). In the second half, JBU knocked down 18-of-20, including its last 10 in the final 71 seconds of the game.

“Our free throw shooting was especially big for us tonight,” added Beschta. “Any win in this conference is a good win, and games are hard to come by whether on the road or at home. We need to springboard from this game into our game next Thursday and continue to get better every day.”

The win guarantees John Brown avoids its worst conference start in program history (0-4) and ends a two-year, two-game skid at Abe Lemons Arena. The two teams will meet again on Jan. 30 at Bill George Arena.

Freshman Josh Bowling wrestled inside for a lay-in to build a 14-10 lead for John Brown which ballooned further to a 19-12 advantage after senior Griffin Brady hit a triple and a layup. A 6-0 City run drew the hosts within one, 19-18, but JBU finally earned some breathing room with Moyer’s first triple of the game at the 2:56 mark, handing the Golden Eagles a 26-22 cushion.

Junior Ricky Roberts split a pair at the line and stuck a fast-break layup, allowing John Brown to take a 29-26 lead into the half.

Moyer splashed his second trey of the afternoon, allowing JBU a minor 9-4 advantage and a 38-30 lead at the 16:39 mark of the half. Neither team scored a field goal for the next 2:30 until OCU’s Terrence Bonhomme hit a pair of layups to cap off a 7-0 Stars rally, pulling the hosts within one, 38-37. Brady, on the next possession, hit a big-time triple to maintain John Brown’s advantage, which held up until midway through the frame. Dorion Gigger hit a tip-in and a dunk on consecutive possessions for City as the Stars finally recaptured the lead, 43-42.

Moyer then took over, forcing his way to a personal 7-0 run, hitting two at the line, one layup and a triple, to return the lead to the Golden Eagles, 49-43. Oklahoma City would never retake the lead.

Although the Stars tied the game at 51 apiece, Bowling hit both from the line and freshman Brandon Joseph knocked down a key triple from the top of the arc, rebuilding a minor four-point lead, 56-51. JBU would continue the 11-2 run with a Brady jumper and a timely three from junior Zach English from the right arc, opening up John Brown’s largest lead of the game to nine, 62-53.

City’s Lou Dunbar hit back-to-back triples to close the gap to three, but Moyer hit his biggest triple of the game in retaliation two possessions later, which setup JBU’s final 10-of-10 effort from the line in the waning moments. OCU hit just one field goal in the final 2:49 of the game and ended the contest 34.7 percent (25-of-72) from the field.

Brady finished the tilt with 12 points and six boards while English added 11 in a perfect 3-of-3 effort from behind the arc.

Noel Allen notched a team-best 20 points and eight boards for City. Gigger added a double-double, 13 points and 14 boards, while Jonathan Reed posted 11 points and four assists in the loss for City, which absorbed its first Sooner Athletic loss of the season.

Although the Stars out-scored John Brown 40-14 in the paint, JBU held the lead for just over 32 minutes of the game while the score was tied for six, leaving City’s time of possessions with the lead to a mere two minutes.

The Golden Eagles will return to action on Thursday (Jan. 14) when it takes on Southwestern Christian (Okla.) in Bethany, Okla. The Eagles (5-7, 2-2 SAC) have won three straight at home, including a pair of wins this week over No. 18 Southwestern A.G. (Texas) and No. 13 Texas Wesleyan. Tip is scheduled for 8 p.m.

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