Siloam Springs, Ark. (January 17, 2009) - The JBU men’s basketball team played giant killer and defended their home court on Saturday night after defeating No. 21 Oklahoma City Stars 71-70 for the upset win in Sooner Athletic Conference action.
Senior guard Jarrett McGriff paced JBU (13-5, 6-4) with 22 points and six caroms after finishing 6-of-13 for the night including 4-of-7 from long range. McGriff was also 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Abel Galliguez also torched the nets from downtown connecting on 6-of-10 to finish with 20 points, four assists, and three steals. Senior forward Cody Page added 15 after hitting 5-of-6 from three-point territory.
OCU (11-6, 4-5) got huge performances by Richard Jackson, who finished with 25 points after going 10-of-13 for the game and Jamel White, who finished with 20 points and three assists after going 7-of-16 including 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
With 5.0 seconds remaining in the game, OCU sent Davaughn Jackson to the line where he stepped up and iced both freebies to give JBU the one point lead.
“I had to make them,” said Jackson. “Coach had me shooting one hundred free-throws a day and it paid off.”
On the ensuing possession, OCU inbounded the ball to White who brought the ball up the floor and found Davell Jackson outside the arc. Jackson got a clean look at it, but it hit the front of the rim as time expired.
In the first half, OCU jumped out to a torrid pace and left JBU behind to claim a 35-20 halftime lead.
“I thought our guys looked a little tight in the first half,” said head coach Clark Sheehy. “So I told them at the break to play with some swagger and confidence.”
By the 17:00 minute mark in the second half, OCU took their largest margin of the game at 22 points, 45-23.
JBU wouldn’t be done for the night though, as they went on a 19-4 run over the course of the next six minutes led by McGriff and Galliguez. During the run, they combined to score 17 of the 19 points to pull within seven, 42-49, with 11:18 remaining in the game.
“Coach told us we were stagnant in the first half,” said Galliguez. “So we came out and wanted to be more aggressive and start out with more energy.”
Though rattled, OCU continued to hold on to the lead and found themselves ahead by eight, 69-61, with 2:04 left after R. Jackson continued to find ways to score.
With under a minute remaining Galliguez cut the lead down to four, 66-70, after driving uncontested for the lay in. Next possession, JBU forced an OCU turnover and took full advantage on the next play. With 36.0 seconds remaining, Galliguez found McGriff wide open and he buried his fourth trey of the night to pull JBU within one, 69-70.
Next OCU possession, White drove to the basket with 10.0 seconds left, but his layup come up short. JBU grabbed the rebound and pushed it up the floor and got it inside to Jackson who was fouled by Alonzo James with five seconds remaining.
“This was a heck of a game,” said Sheehy. “But we’ve got to continue to grow from here because we still have a tough road ahead of us.”
JBU outscored OCU 51-35 in the second half, and on the night, the team shot 23-of-57 (40.4%) including 16-of-32 (50%) from three. Both teams grabbed 30 boards, but JBU only committed 13 turnovers while forcing 18.
Overall, OCU shot 26-of-50 (52%) including 9-of-17 (52.9%) from three.
Up next, JBU faces Southern Nazarene (Okla.) at home on Thursday at 8 p.m.