Golden Eagles Rally from 19 Down, Edge Central Baptist 97-94 in Overtime

CONWAY, Ark. (November 3, 2012) — Down by 19 points midway through the first half, John Brown rode Collin Hart's team-high 19 points and 50-39 scoring advantage in the second half to push Central Baptist (Ark.) to overtime, pulling out the 97-94 victory tonight in Conway.

With the score tied early on at eight, the Mustangs rode a 29-8 scoring advantage over the next 10 minutes of play, placing the Golden Eagles in a seemingly insurmountable 36-17 hole.

JBU slowly began to close the gap as the lead evaporated back to only nine as D'Shon Taylor sank a field goal with 2:14 remaining in the first half. Both teams would continue to trade points for the remainder of the half. A basket from Hart and a pair of free throws from Kent High kept the CBC advantage at 11 headed into the break.

John Brown's biggest difficulty was guarding Spencer Caraway who carved the JBU defense for 21 points in the first half. Both High and Hart paced the Golden Eagle offense with seven points each. John Brown shot 11-of-26 in the first half (42.3 percent), edged out slightly by the Mustang's 46.4 percent shooting.

"We found ourselves down 19 points because we didn't start well or play well in the first half," said head coach Clark Sheehy.

After EJ McWood's trifecta to begin the second half, Central Baptist went on a 12-4 as the Mustang lead ballooned back to 16 (59-43).

From there John Brown began to rally. A Kurtis Phillips shot from the paint fell, spurring the Golden Eagles to a 10-0 run, fueled by a pair of Kofi Josephs and an Coleson Rakestraw bucket, pulling the game to a manageable six-point deficit.

The Mustang lead would build back to 11 minutes later until the Golden Eagles pulled within four at the 5:12 mark of the second half. A triple by Max Hopfgartner closed JBU to within one point, 80-79.

Hopfgartner began to take over from there as the sophomore forward's bucket with 52 seconds left in regulation made the score 85-84 in favor of Central Baptist. On the ensuing possesion, the Mustangs were only able to convert one of two free throws, setting up Hopfgartner's late-game heroics.

Sheehy would call a timeout with only two ticks on the clock remaining, drawing up a play that allowed Abel Galliguez to find Hopfgartner for a buzzer-beating shot, sending the game to overtime.

After 40 minutes of play, JBU had only enjoyed a two-point lead early in first half while Central Baptist often carried leads of 16 to 19 points. The Golden Eagles controlled the majority of rebounds, pulling down 35, including nine offensive boards.

In a reversal of fortunes, John Brown never trailed in the extra session. Hopfgartner's field goal just 21 seconds in gave JBU the lead it would never relinquish. The Golden Eagles shot 3-for-6 from the field in the extra period.

Both teams suffered from ball control issues, posting 24 turnovers apiece. JBU held the rebounding advantage (40-35) and shot an impressive 50 percent (22-of-44) in the second half and overtime.

Joining Hart in double-digits were Hopfgartner (18), Josephs (12) and High (12). Phillips and Hopfgartner shared a team-high eight rebounds while High and Galliguez each dished out four assists.

Twelve of Hart's team-high 19 points were from beyond the arc, as the freshman guard shot 4-of-9 (44.4 percent) from three-point range.

"Even though we were down big again in the second half, we hung in there," admitted Sheehy. "Max (Hopfgartner) did great job in the second half, going 7-for-7 from the field. Collin (Hart) also played huge for us, hitting very timely shots."

The Golden Eagles now stand at 2-0 on the young season. Central Baptist falls to 0-2 after a season-opening loss to Rogers State (Okla.).

John Brown will return home to face Ecclesia (Ark.) on Tuesday (Nov. 6) for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off at Bill George Arena.