Hopfgartner's Double-Double Pushes John Brown Past Williams Baptist, 71-51
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (November 30, 2012) — Despite falling behind by five points early in the contest and shooting 10.7 percent from beyond the arc, the Golden Eagles kept its perfect season alive, knocking off in convincing fashion Williams Baptist (Ark.) in a 71-51 victory tonight at Bill George Arena.
With the win, John Brown pushes its overall record to 8-0, one win shy of its 9-0 start in the 2011-12 campaign. The Golden Eagles have outscored its opponents by an average of 18 points per game en route to its current unblemished record.
"I thought we did a better job defending for 40 minutes tonight," said head coach Clark Sheehy. "Considering how poorly we shot the ball but the outcome the way it turned out, I was really pleased with our effort."
Sophomore forward Max Hopfgartner led the way for JBU, scoring a career-high 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. He completed the double-double by pulling down 12 rebounds while converting three of four free throw opportunities.
Junior forward Kurtis Phillips grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds and freshman forward Nate Anderson netted a career-high 11 points while posting four blocks. Freshman forward D'Shon Taylor, coming off a career-high 17 points at Lyon (Ark.), also set a career-high mark with 10 rebounds to accompany his seven points.
Williams Baptist (5-3) entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the nation in offensive rebounds (19.714) and total rebounds (50.286), but John Brown limited the Eagles to just 16 offensive rebounds while grabbing 21 of its own. JBU also won the battle of the boards, earning the 58-45 rebounding advantage while also keeping WBC below it total rebounding average.
"For three guys to finish in double-digit rebounds," added Sheehy, "was very important for us. Tonight we didn't hit a lot of shots, but those guys gave us an opportunity at second chances. That will always give us a great chance to be competitive."
The visitors shot out to a quick five-point lead, 7-2, just 3:36 into the game, but John Brown responded with an 11-0 run, pulling ahead 13-7. The Golden Eagle defense kept Williams Baptist off the scoreboard for a 2:55 span during the streak.
Kent High's field goal down low extended the home team's advantage into double-digit territory as JBU mounted a 10-point advantage, 19-9. The lead would then fluctuate and hit 11 on five separate occasions as John Brown finished the half with a 34-23 advantage, courtesy of a triple by senior guard Abel Galliguez as time expired.
JBU came out in the second half determined to put away the Eagles by starting the frame on a 10-0 run that was capped off by two Anderson free throws.
Williams Baptist attempted to keep pace, however the John Brown offense was too much in the second half, scoring at a 37.1 percent clip, keeping the deficit in the mid-teens for the majority of the frame.
The Eagles whittled down the deficit to 13, but back-to-back dunks by Hopfgartner returned the lead to 17 with 3:18 remaining, thwarting Williams Baptist's comeback bid.
The balanced John Brown attack led to a 36-17 advantage by the Golden Eagles' bench in scoring over the opposition. The home team also dominated down low, out-scoring WBC by a 40-28 margin in the paint.
Kyle Harvey paced Williams Baptist with 20 points, but the JBU defense held all other players below seven points.
Both squads struggled from three-point range as John Brown only landed 3-of-28 but its defensive effort held the Eagles to a lone trey on 14 chances.
"We have a very young squad, and that leaves you prone to inconsistencies," Sheehy admitted. "We're trying to teach the guys that the season is a daily process, a daily grind. We'll only be successful if we stay committed to working hard."
The Golden Eagles will now face Oklahoma Wesleyan (7-2) in a matinee affair on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Bill George Arena. Game time is slated for 5:00 p.m.