Siloam Springs Herald Leader
Wayland Baptist beats JBU men for 10th straight win
The John Brown men’s basketball team wound up being the latest Sooner Athletic Conference basketball team to fall to the buzzsaw that is Wayland Baptist.
The Pioneers shot 57.6 percent from the field overall, and a torrid 65.6 percent in the second, on their way to their 10th straight victory, downing the Golden Eagles 97-76 on Saturday inside Bill George Arena.
John Brown coach Jason Beschta said his Golden Eagles team did some good things as well, but it wasn’t enough to slow down Wayland Baptist.
“I mean they’re really good,” Beschta said. “They are really good, and they were good for them tonight even, because they’re already playing really good on average, and they were above average because they can score. They’ve got a lot of shot makers. They can make those tough shots they made tonight, but they made them over and over and over again, on a night where we did some things offensively really well.”
John Brown kept things close in the first half. A Lukas Gabani basket tied the game 18-18 midway through the first half, but Wayland Baptist answered with a 3-pointer from Josh Servantez to take the lead for good at 21-18. It was Servantez’s third 3-pointer at that point and he could go on to hit two more and shoot 5 of 6 from long range in the first half.
Still, John Brown stayed within striking distance thanks to a banked 3-pointer from Malachi Reeves to pull JBU within 29-27 later in the half.
A basket from Tyren Collins brought JBU to 36-32 of Wayland Baptist, but the Pioneers went on an 8-0 run to go up 44-32.
A 3-pointer from Josh Stewart at the halftime buzzer kept JBU within 44-35.
Wayland Baptist (20-6, 15-5) quickly went up double digits in the second half and extended its lead to as much as 21 points in the second half.
“That’s 10 in a row for us,” said Wayland Baptist coach Clint Galyean. “We’re playing well at the right time down the stretch.We’ve got two big home games to close out the regular season.
“We were 10-6, and I guess that was early January and we just started focusing on trying to win the day. (Going) 1-0 starts in practice on Monday, can’t go 1-0 on Thursday without going 1-0 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, that’s been a big focus of us is just day by day, not looking to the future.”
Even though the Pioneers shot well statistically in the first half, Galyean said the team and coaches were not pleased and wanted to come out better in the second half to avoid a JBU rally.
“Coach (Beschta) does a great job over there, really well coached John Brown team,” Galyean said. “They’re solid, really fundamental. That’s what we told our guys. We weren’t happy at halftime they way we played. I didn’t think our energy, effort and execution was there, so that was a big focus the first five to 10 minutes of the second half. Let’s out-energy, out-effort and outexecute them.”
Reece Spencer scored 22 points off the bench to lead Wayland Baptist, while D’Michael Bellfield had 19, Servantez 17 and Tedrick Wolfe 14.
Wayland Baptist, which was receiving votes in the Feb. 8 Top 25 poll, finished 38 of 66 from the field, including 10 of 18 from behind the 3-point line. The Pioneers outrebounded JBU 26-21 and only had 12 turnovers.
Gabani led John Brown with 14 points, while D.J. Ellis had 13, Collins 12, Reeves 10 and Stewart nine.
JBU hit 31 of 65 from the field, but only 8 of 23 from deep and 6 of 13 from the free-throw line.
“They’re a top 10 level type team for sure the way they’re playing,” Beschta said. If you’re going to beat a team like that you’re going to have to have a special night.We did some things but just not enough.”
It was announced earlier in the week that JBU had earned a forfeit win against UNT-Dallas on Dec. 2, due to the Trailblazers using an ineligible player.
John Brown (10-15, 8-11) was scheduled to host Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Results were not available at presstime.
JBU is back in action at home Thursday against Mid-America Christian for Senior Night.
JOHN BROWN 70, PANHANDLE STATE 67
Senior James Beckom scored a team-high 15 points, including a thunderous dunk in transition, and the Golden Eagles used a game-ending 12-3 run to earn a 70-67 win over Oklahoma Panhandle State on Thursday night (Feb. 9) inside Bill George Arena.
The emergence of the doubledouble machines struck again, as Beckom added 11 rebounds, while freshman Lukas Gabani fought off foul trouble to end the evening with 11 points and 12 rebounds, as the pair largely powered the John Brown (9-15, 7-11 Sooner Athletic) rebounding effort that provided a 10-carom margin, 41-31.
Down 64-58 with under three minutes to play, the Golden Eagles began working its way to the charity stripe. Gabani split his trip, while freshman Malachi Reeves converted both of his chances. After a stop, JBU used a Gabani bucket in the paint to continue the 5-0 run and pull within one, 64-63.
The nation’s leading scorer, Rayquan Elliott hit a pair at the line to return the margin to three, but with a waning shot clock, senior Payton Guiot earned a trip to the line, where he buried both. Elliott followed up with splitting a crucial pair of free throws on the next possession, giving JBU the ball, down two, with 33 seconds left.
Out of the timeout, Guiot struck for his fourth triple of the game off the glass, and the Golden Eagles secured its first lead since the 15:02 mark of the first half.
Elliott, after the inbounds and during a handoff, was stripped of the ball by Beckom who raced down the court and earned a foul with four seconds left. After hitting both, it was John Brown’s lead, 70-67, with four seconds left.
Despite the long pass from under their own basket, Panhandle State still had a chance to tie the game when the ball found Elliott at the right arc, but the nation’s top scorer wasn’t able to complete the clutch shot, sending the Golden Eagles to a second-straight win.
Guiot came off the bench and finished with 14 points, while freshman Josh Stewart handed in an efficient outing, hitting 4-of-5 from the floor to contribute nine.
Elliot finished one point shy of his 30-point average by scoring 23 in the second half. Kaleb Stephens added seven rebounds in the loss for the Aggies (2-23, 1-18).