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story.lead_photo.caption Photo courtesy of John Brown University John Brown students throw toilet paper after Luke Harper's 3-point shot 14 seconds into Saturday's season-opener against Ecclesia in the annual Toilet Paper Game at Bill George Arena.

The execution of the first made field goal of the season didn't work out as John Brown drew it up, but the results ended up fine just the same -- and the toilet paper certainly flew.

Golden Eagles freshman Luke Harper connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key just 14 seconds into the season -- unleashing thousands of rolls of toilet paper at Bill George Arena -- and JBU ran away with a 108-66 victory over Ecclesia in the annual Toilet Paper Game at Bill George Arena.

John Brown 108, Ecclesia 66

Ecclesia^31^35^—^66

John Brown^53^55^—^108

Ecclesia (0-2): Ross 28, Lockridge 15, Freeland 8, Fulenwider 6, Gobert 3, Krueger 2, Worgu 2, Chira 2.

John Brown (1-0): Caudle 16, Bowling 16, Grabliauskas 13, Harper 12, Carnes 11, Bailey 10, Toussaint 9, Bayless 7, Smith 5, Kennedy 4, Corder 3, Hart 2.

"I mean it was crazy," said Harper, a 6-3 guard from Plano, Texas. "Just the toilet paper hitting you, everyone pushing on me and stuff, I was kind of in shock. Pretty crazy experience -- awesome way to start."

Harper and JBU head coach Jason Beschta said the plan wasn't for him to hit the opening field goal of the season for the TP throw, which earns JBU a technical foul.

"We've got a senior in Josh (Bowling)," Beschta said. "We thought we'd do something to give him a try -- clear out the baseline and give him a chance to rip and go."

Bowling did get the ball, but his first shot was deflected and he got it back and dished to a wide open Harper for the shot.

"I kind of wanted Josh to hit it because he hasn't hit it before," Harper said. "But he's a great teammate. He's unselfish. He passed it to me. When I hit it, it was awesome. Honestly, I was worried I was going to botch it up."

Ecclesia declined the technical foul shots, and for the first quarter of the first half the Royals stuck with the Golden Eagles, thanks to the hot shooting of De'Vontae Ross, who hit five early 3-pointers, to keep Ecclesia in it.

Tanyon Fulenwider's 3-pointer for Ecclesia tied the game 20-20, but the game was about to take a turn in the Golden Eagles' favor.

Harper splashed another 3-pointer at the top of the key to answer for a 23-20 lead and JBU would never trail again. Harper's shot was the start of a 21-0 run to blow the game open.

Harper followed his 3-pointer with a basket in transition. Josh Bowling scored inside for a 27-20 lead, and Rokas Grabliauskas and Densier Carnes hit back-to-back 3-points for a 33-20 lead.

Harper and Quintin Bailey scored inside, and Grabliauskas and Carnes added baskets to complete the run.

By the time Ross banked in a 3-pointer to stop the run, it was a 41-23 JBU lead.

The Golden Eagles led 53-31 at halftime and outscored the Royals 55-35 in the second half.

"It was great to see our guys respond," Beschta said. "It was 20-20 after they had one guy hit like (five) 3s. That's demoralizing to the guys and we've got to learn to play through those tough things. It was good to see guys refocus on the defensive end. You've got to do that first. Everybody talks about that. We got some stops. We got out and made some exciting plays, got some nice dunks in there to get us going, feed your defense even more and took some charges which was great. I thought we did a really good job on that."

Brenton Toussaint had a big one-handed dunk and he also caught an alley-oop from Harper to slam it through late in the first half.

Caudle and Bowling each scored 16 points to lead six players in double figures. Grabliauskas added 13 points, while Harper had 12, Carnes 11 and Bailey 10.

Five Golden Eagles made their season-debuts in Desmond Kennedy, Ira Perrier, Braden Bayless, Bailey and Harper, who the coaches are really high on.

"He's going to be a special player," Beschta said of Harper. "The things he can do with the ball in his hands, there are very few guys that can do. He got one of his signature floaters in tonight too. He is amazing at those. He's going to be a fun guy to watch. We've got two ball handlers with him and Rokas that can play together, which makes it really tough."

All 13 of JBU's players got in the game, highlighted by a seven-point barrage late in the fourth quarter by Bayless, much to the delight of the standing room only crowd at Bill George Arena.

"Everybody got in," Beschta said. "I think the last one who got in was Braden, who the crowd had been chanting for. Then he comes in and drops seven points late there in the last few minutes, which was exciting to see."

JBU hit 44 of 83 shots from the field and 16 of 40 from behind the 3-point line.

Ross finished with 28 points for Ecclesia and hit 8 of 9 3-pointers. Davion Lockridge added 15 points.

John Brown 108, Ecclesia 66

Ecclesia^31^35^--^66

John Brown^53^55^--^108

Ecclesia (0-2): Ross 28, Lockridge 15, Freeland 8, Fulenwider 6, Gobert 3, Krueger 2, Worgu 2, Chira 2.

John Brown (1-0): Caudle 16, Bowling 16, Grabliauskas 13, Harper 12, Carnes 11, Bailey 10, Toussaint 9, Bayless 7, Smith 5, Kennedy 4, Corder 3, Hart 2.

Sports on 11/07/2018

Print Headline: JBU men run past Ecclesia in TP game

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