Golden Eagles survive non-conference scare from Ecclesia

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SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. -- Sophomore Brandon Joseph hit an acrobatic layup with just over four minutes to play and sophomore Josh Bowling provided a game-saving rejection as time expired as the John Brown University men's basketball team survived a late Ecclesia run to hold onto a 79-76 win inside Bill George Arena on Thursday (Dec. 8) night.

The Royals (5-7) held an eight-point lead late in the first half and carried a 35-30 lead into intermission, but JBU (9-4) responded with a 63.3 percent shooting effort in the second half, earning its fourth win in five games.

Sophomore Jake Caudle persisted through a 7-of-17 shooting night to score a team-leading 17 points while freshman Brenton Toussaint picked an appropriate game to contribute a season-best 11 points and seven boards. Joseph came off the bench to deliver nine points and a game-high four assists, and senior Ricky Roberts battled through a difficult first half to tally eight points and four rebounds.

Eleven players scored on the night for the Golden Eagles as the JBU reserves posted 42 points, compared to Ecclesia's 14.

Beyond holding a 41-30 rebounding advantage, John Brown converted 11 offensive rebounds in 24 second-chance points. Toussaint and junior Sam Egedi each pulled down a trio of offensive boards.

John Brown was mired in a 12-of-36 shooting effort (33.3 percent) effort in the first half, including a 6-of-22 mark from downtown. The second half provided redemption, as did a 4-of-8 mark from behind the arc, and allowed the hosts improved to 8-2 inside Bill George Arena.

Joseph's layup with 2:11 left extended the JBU lead to eight, 79-71, but the Royals would close the game on a 5-0 run down the stretch and have an opportunity to tie the game at 79 on the last possession.

Dequclean Bagsby, who scored a game-high 23 points for Ecclesia, missed an attempt with four seconds left, but Ecclesia was able to maintain possession with one final chance. On the inbounds, Austin Burroughs attempted a turn-around triple from the deep corner, only to have it blocked by Bowling as time expired.

The rejection was the second of the night for Bowling, as Egedi and Caudle also provided a block for the hosts. John Brown entered the contest ranked No. 9 in the nation in total blocks (46).

Burroughs accompanied Bagsby in double-figure scoring with 13 points and six boards. Christ White added 12 points, five from the line, off the bench in the Ecclesia loss.

The Golden Eagles will now hit the road for a pair of exhibition matchups with NCAA I opponents. On Saturday (Dec. 10), John Brown will travel to Tulsa to face Oral Roberts (Okla.) in a 3 p.m. tilt before an eight-day break and an afternoon battle in Waco, Texas against Baylor at 3:30 p.m.

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