Second-half Bacone surge hands John Brown difficult setback

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MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- A 17-6 second-half run was too much to handle, and the John Brown University men's basketball team shot just 36.4 percent over the last 20 minutes, falling 92-72 at Bacone (Okla.) on Thursday (Feb. 16) evening inside Palmer Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles (15-11, 7-8 Sooner Athletic) held a lead for only 31 seconds of the contest, a 4-2 advantage early on, and fell for the third time in the last five games. Bacone, the league's last-place team, picked up its second win in its last four. The Warriors entered the game especially dangerous in the Palmer Gymnasium, recently knocking off Southwestern A.G. (Texas) and playing No. 18 Oklahoma City to a three-point game.

The setback sends JBU back to seventh place with three games left, one game behind Wayland Baptist (Texas) and two games behind a trio of teams deadlocked for second place in the conference with three games left in the regular season. The top four seeds host seeds 5-8 at campus sites in the SAC Tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday (Feb. 28) evening.

Sophomore Josh Bowling turned in an efficient outing, pacing the Golden Eagles with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor while senior Matthew Ledford and sophomore Benjamin Smith posted 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Uncharacteristically, John Brown shot just 15-of-29 from the free throw line, largely contributing to the 20-point differential, while Bacone responded with a 13-of-14 effort from the stripe and hit 11 triples, shooting 52.4 percent from behind the arc, shooting 21 percent better than its season average.

While the visitors out-scored the Warriors (7-18, 3-12) 48-21 in the battle of the benches, Bacone received four double-digit scoring efforts from its starters, led by Brandon Scott's 19-point effort. Kevin Pritchett pulled down a double-double with 17 points and 12 boards while Mauris Hopkins shot 7-of-8 from the floor to drop 16. Brandon Chatman added 12 points in the win.

The six-point Bacone lead at the intermission held steady under a jumper from sophomore Brandon Joseph and a Bowling triple trimmed the gap to four on separate occasions early in the second half. The lead fluttered in single digits until the 16:35 mark when the Warriors rallied on its game-clinching 17-6 run, highlighted by a 2-of-7 stretch for the Golden Eagles from the floor over the 6:01 run.

A triple from Ledford with 4:11 left pulled JBU within 13, 78-65, but a game-closing 14-7 run from Bacone eliminating any comeback effort.

JBU returns to action on Saturday (Feb. 18) for a 5 p.m. matchup with Science & Arts (Okla.) inside Bill George Arena. The game will have immense bearings on how the tournament seedings will ultimately shake out.

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