Second Half Defensive Stand Hands JBU 69-53 Win over Bacone
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 8, 2012) — A 22-4 run to open the second half created the separation that John Brown (4-0) needed, delivering the Golden Eagles a 69-53 victory over visiting Bacone (Okla.) at Bill George Arena tonight.
JBU was lead by a double-double from sophomore forward Max Hopfgartner who finished the evening with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 from beyond the arc. Senior guard Coleson Rakestraw added 14 points for the Golden Eagles while freshman guard Kofi Josephs turned in a eight-point, five-rebound effort.
"I told a lot of people this fall, he's starting to come on," said head coach Clark Sheehy of Hopfgartner's performance as the guard now averages 14 points per game through the first four contests of the season. "He had a really good spring and then this fall, he shooting in the high 50 or 60 percent range. Despite the numbers, I know he can do better.
"We can only hope he stays engaged in the process and continue to improve."
John Brown dominated the game around the basket, finishing with a 38-20 point advantage in the paint.
Despite committing 18 turnovers in the game, a problem that still troubles the quick-transition Golden Eagles, JBU dished out 19 assists in the contest, paced by team-leader senior guard Abel Galliguez's nine helpers.
John Brown shot 51.9 percent in the first half, lead by Hopfgartner's 13 in the first frame.
Down one at the 9:36 mark (14-13), the Golden Eagles would pull ahead on a Hopfgartner field goal down low. That basket would spur JBU on a 11-3 run, capped off by junior forward Kurtis Phillips' fast-break bucket to extend the lead to 25-18.
The Warriors (1-2) answered back, piecing together a 6-0 streak to pull within one with 5:04 remaining and even took back the lead, converting a John Brown offensive turnover with just over two minutes remaining in the half.
Leading scorer Hopfgartner carried the team on his back, scoring seven of JBU's final nine points on a pair of field goals and a three-pointer to take a commanding 34-28 lead into the half.
The game would quickly fall apart for Bacone in the second half as the relentless Golden Eagle offense went on a 22-4 tear as the defense didn't allow a single Warrior field goal in the first 9:07 of the second half.
"I thought defensively, we're getting closer to putting together 40 minutes," Sheehy added. "We've needed to defend a greater percentage of the game. We're not there yet, we missed a few assignments. However, we're getting closer to where we need to be."
After establishing a 22-point lead (57-35) with only 8:44 remaining in the game, John Brown would then cruise to a seemingly easy 69-53 win.
The Golden Eagles held the advantage in rebounds (47-32), second-chance points (13-11) and three-pointers converted (6-4) en route to the 16-point victory.
JBU's defense was the clear difference in the second half, only allowing the Warriors to shoot a meager 21.9 percent clip from the field in the second half.
The Golden Eagles will now face NCAA II Missouri Southern State in Joplin on Friday (Nov. 9) in an exhibition showdown. The Lions have already faced NCAA I Missouri, falling 86-60 to the Division I powerhouse. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m.
"Missouri Southern has been a top-10 program throughout the last few years in their division," Sheehy said. "It's going to be a high-level, high-intensity game. It's a great opportunity for us to see where we're really at."