Toilet paper flies
JBU sweeps Ecclesia in season-opener
Marquis Waller extended both arms high above his head as thousands of rolls of toilet paper rained down on him during a 9765 victory over Ecclesia College at Bill George Arena on Saturday.
Waller’s swish just 16 seconds into the game began John Brown University’s “Toilet Paper Game” tradition where the capacity crowd threw rolls of toilet paper onto the court after the home team’s first made field goal of the season.
“I’m a junior and this is my first year of making the shot, so I just reacted a little to celebrate,” Waller said. “It was a fun experience getting to watch others make it, and it was a really good experience to actually be the one
I’m a junior and this is my first year of making the shot, so I just reacted a little to celebrate. It was a fun experience getting to watch others make it, and it was a really good experience to actually be the one to make the shot. It felt kind of like hitting a game-winning shot. Marquis Waller JBU guard
to make the shot.
“It felt kind of like hitting a game-winning shot.”
As always, the Golden Eagles (1-0) were issued a technical foul for the home crowd’s disruption, but the Royals declined shooting a free throw for the technical. It’s
the first time an opponent has done that in the tradition’s 30-plus year history.
“It’s all for fun, it’s tradition and we don’t want to get a free point that way,” said Ecclesia coach Al McCarron. “And the (toilet paper) is all donated, so we didn’t want to take advantage of that. We were just fortunate to play in front of this type of crowd.”
Waller beat his defender one-on-one for a turnaround jumper from about 6 feet out. However, the original plan called for Waller to get open on a back-door cut for the shot. JBU coach Jason Beschta wasn’t surprised when the designed play for his team’s first possession didn’t pan out.
“Whatever you try to draw up for the first play of this game breaks down every time,” said the Golden Eagles’ third-year coach. “I was glad that we were able to get that early bucket and it didn’t take several minutes, though.”
Jake Caudle, a junior from Bentonville, lit it up from the arc to ignite JBU to a 51-29 halftime lead. He was 5 of 8 from threepoint range and scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. Juniors Josh Bowling and Benjamin Smith each chipped in 15 points for JBU while freshman Jaylon Rucker added 10 points in his collegiate debut.
“Jake can really shoot the ball and he can score in some other ways, too,” Bechta said. “He works extremely hard, so he’s kind of earned the right to shoot some of these shots and we have a lot of confidence in him knocking those down like that.”
Cash Kreuger and Dequcelan Bagsby each had 12 points to pace the Royals, but they couldn’t combat the Golden Eagles’
Jake can really shoot the ball and he can score in some other ways, too. He works extremely hard, so he’s kind of earned the right to shoot some of these shots and we have a lot of confidence in him knocking those down like that. Jason Bechta JBU men’s basketball coach on Jake Caudle, who scored a game-high 26 points
56.5 percent shooting (36 of 69) from the floor, which included 14 threepointers. Several of JBU’s game-changing runs were triggered by its defense, which forced 22 turnovers by rotating between a full-court press and a halfcourt trapping defense.
“They took us out of our game,” McCarron said. “It looked like we were in slow motion a lot and it looked like we were exhausted at one point because their pressure really took us out of running our stuff. They did a good job defensively.”
Waller, who made “the shot,” but later missed a wide-open dunk, finished with nine points.
“I was trying to dunk it too hard,” Waller said. “But I’m glad I hit ‘the shot,’ glad we got the win and looking forward to a great season.”
The Golden Eagles were scheduled to return to action Tuesday at Benedictine (Kan.). Results were not available at presstime. JBU returns to the court at 8 p.m. Saturday at Evangel (Mo.).
Fans at Bill George Arena on the campus of John Brown University toss toilet paper onto the court after John Brown’s Marquis Waller scored the first basket of the season Saturday.
John Brown University junior Jake Caudle looks for a pass against Ecclesia during Saturday’s game at Bill George Arena.