Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 21, 2006) - John Williams’s layup with 0:15 left in the game lifted the John Brown Golden Eagles to a 61-60 Sooner Athletic Conference victory over St. Gregory’s (Okla.) Saturday in Siloam Springs. The Golden Eagles overcame a frustrating offensive performance and a late surge by the Cavaliers to improve to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the SAC. Alex Terry led John Brown with 13 points, and Joel Tesis scored 10 and pulled down 5 rebounds. Patrick Jones of St. Gregory’s (7-12, 1-6) led all scorers with 24.
Both teams slogged through a first half that featured 27 personal fouls, but John Brown emerged with a 34-27 halftime lead. The most surprising first-half statistic the Golden Eagles’ 1-for-2 performance from behind the three-point line. The Cavaliers were determined not to let John Brown sharpshooters Brandon Cole and Adam Workman play to their typical level, and backup point guard Tyler Dees contributed that lone trey not quite seven minutes in, giving John Brown a 17-10 lead.
The drama truly began with 12:01 left in the game when St. Gregory’s took its first lead since 14:38 in the first half on a basket by Jones that made the score 41-40. With John Brown trailing 44-43 less than three minutes later, Workman and Cody Page hit back-to-back three-pointers to put John Brown back ahead 49-44. Cole, however, was still searching for his first long-range bucket of the night, and with fewer than seven minutes left, his leading assists man, Terry, fouled out of the game.
That left sophomore Dees all alone at the point trying to guide his team through what would become a nine-minute field-goal drought. Oscar Sealy stepped up to hit four-straight free throws, and Tesis and Dees combined for three more. But meanwhile, JR Rogers, the man about to be defensively responsible for ending Cole’s streak of games with a three-pointer, hit two treys of his own to put the Cavaliers up 58-55 with 1:52 left. His team still leading 58-56 and operating without the shot clock, Jones then unwisely rushed through the Golden Eagle defense to score an easy layup with 0:29 remaining.
John Brown took advantage of the extra possession. Dees found Workman open in the corner, and the junior guard promptly knocked down a trey to pull John Brown within one, 60-59. After a timeout, the Golden Eagles forced a turnover, and Dees then fed Williams for the go-ahead layup.
The Cavaliers’ Ernie Anderson missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Golden Eagles muffed an opportunity to put the game away, turning the ball over and allowing St. Gregory’s to inbound under its own goal with 0:02 left. Jones then missed an 18-footer at the buzzer.
Dees finished the game with 6 points and 4 assists, and Williams scored 8 points. Workman doubled up with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Cole finished with 9 points but no three pointers for the first time in his 121-game career. Brett McGee scored 16 points for St. Gregory’s.
John Brown travels to Chickasha, Okla., on Thursday to play Science & Arts at 8:00.