Golden Eagles Fend Off Late Push, Grab 63-61 Against St. Gregory's
SHAWNEE, Okla. (January 10, 2013) - Down eight points in the second half, the Golden Eagles received 17 second-half points from freshman forward Kofi Josephs and held off a last-second upset attempt by the unranked Cavaliers, earning John Brown a hard-fought 63-61 victory Thursday night in Shawnee.
Josephs ended the contest with a career-high 19 points, 12 of which were the result of 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Senior guard Coleson Rakestraw also found double digits, recording 12 points, three assists and a game-high four steals. Senior guard E.J. McWoods came off the bench to contribute nine points and two assists.
Tied at 56 with just over two minutes left to play, Abel Galliguez and Josephs hit back-to-back triples sandwiched around an SGU field goal to hand John Brown the four-point lead with 40 seconds left in the game. After the Cavaliers answered with a triple of its own with only 28 ticks on the clock, JBU attempted to milk the remaining moments off the clock. Desparate for the ball St. Gregory's committed what appeared to be a hard foul on McWoods, but the officiating crew remained silent. As a result, the ball landed out of bounds, back in SGU's possession.
Despite allowing SGU to hold the final possession, the Golden Eagle defense stepped up and forced an awkward Cavalier shot in the lane which didn't fall, all but securing the victory. With seven seconds left, Kurtis Phillips secured the rebound and was immediately fouled, ensuring John Brown's third-consecutive Sooner Athletic Conference victory.
The second half featured five ties and three lead changes. St. Gregory's sported a game-high eight-point advantage at the 16:43 mark of the second half but a 8-0 Golden Eagle run, sparked by field goals from Taylor and a pair from Rakestraw, tied the game at 35 with 14:16 remaining. The JBU run didn't stop there, however, as the visitors poured in five of the next six points, taking its game-high four-point lead, 40-36.
At the half, the home squad enjoyed a two-point lead, 27-25, after holding John Brown to 8-of-26 from the field (30.8 percent).
Despite taking a quick 3-2 lead after Rakestraw's triple at the 19:05 mark, the Golden Eagles only held the lead one other time during the half as a McWoods trey handed the visitors an 11-10 slight advantage. The remainder of the time, the Cavaliers boasts a slim single-digit lead throughout the first half, not allowing John Brown to take more than a one-point lead until 13:29 of the second frame.
The Golden Eagles were outrebounded by a season-high margin of 17 (45-28), which allowed SGU a 20-4 scoring margin in second-chance points. The John Brown defense forced 19 Cavalier turnovers which translated into 21 points, only allowing St. Gregory's a game total of seven points forced from 13 JBU turnovers.
The bench stepped up again for the Blue and Gold, notching 22 points while limiting the SGU reserves to 16. Although allowing the SAC leading scorer Fayzon Richey a game-high 23 points, the Golden Eagle defense didn't allow another Cavalier to finish in double-digit points.
While St. Gregory's falls to 6-7 (0-3 SAC) with the loss, John Brown ups its record to 14-3 overall and a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play. After No. 19 Rogers State's upset of No. 4 Oklahoma Baptist tonight, the Golden Eagles grab sole possession of first place in the Sooner Athletic Conference, setting up a pivotal matchup as JBU hosts the Hillcats on Saturday, Jan. 12, at Bill George Arena for another clash of top-25 programs. The matinee contest is slated to tip-off at 5:00 p.m.