Caudle catches fire, men’s basketball holds on at Evangel

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Caudle hit 13-of-19 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range en route to his career-best outing. He also added a team-high eight rebounds, helping the Golden Eagles (2-1) split a difficult road trip through two Heart of America squads.

The Crusaders (0-4), who haven't lost by more than six points all season, wouldn't go away in the final minutes of the contest, despite facing an 11-point deficit with just 99 seconds remaining.

An 8-of-13 mark at the line in the last stretch was just enough for JBU to hold onto its lead, which would have been seven at the buzzer, but EU's Autry Acord hit a buzzer-beating triple to whittle the final score to a four-point margin.

Both teams shot over 60 percent in the first half.

"I was proud of how we fought in the second half after a lousy defensive effort in the first," head coach Jason Beschta said. "That's a tough team, so I was happy with the great team win, especially with the way we shared the ball tonight. We took a lot of high-percentage shots.

"Of course it helps when you have a guy like Jake do what he did tonight. He was tremendous. But also, our depth allowed us to stay fresh down the stretch."

Freshman Rokas Grabliauskas converted 9-of-12 from the charity stripe and scored 16 while junior Josh Bowling added 11, on a 6-of-6 night from the line. Freshman Jaylon Rucker found double digits, hitting a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, including a pair of treys.

In a game in which 21 ties and 17 lead changes kept either team from going on long runs, it was the JBU three-point shooting that ultimately made the difference in a game of inches. The visitors shot 9-of-18 behind the arc, while the hosts hit just 6-of-19. Both teams scored 29 field goals while John Brown held a narrow 34-30 rebounding advantage. JBU turned the ball over one more time, 18-17.

The Golden Eagles return to Bill George Arena for a long home stretch, starting with Ozark Christian (Mo.) on Tuesday (Nov. 14) at 8 p.m.

Evangel and JBU meet each other again next weekend in the inaugural John Brown University Classic.

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