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OKLAHOMA CITY -- At many times a defensive struggle, No. 3 Mid-America Christian hit 24 of 29 from the free-throw line to remain undefeated as the No. 10 John Brown University men's basketball team suffered a 73-59 setback on Saturday afternoon inside the Gaulke Activity Center.

Despite trailing by as many as 21 points midway through the second half, John Brown (12-2, 3-1 Sooner Athletic) battled behind 16 second-half points from sophomore Luke Harper to close the gap. Too many turnovers (23), however, and the MACU efficiency at the charity stripe spelled disaster as the Golden Eagles fell for the second time in their last three outings.

"Our defense has been better, but I thought against such a high-scoring MACU team that our defense should have been good enough -- if our offense had been where it needed to be," JBU head coach Jason Beschta said. "MACU did a great job making it difficult for us to get free for good looks, and we were uncharacteristically soft with the ball, leading to way too many turnovers.

"Today was a good opportunity for a couple younger guys to gain valuable experience in a big game without our anchor inside, Quintin (Bailey), playing. This gives us some good insights into how we can improve going forward, and that's exactly what we are going to do as we prepare for the next week."

With Bailey out of the lineup, redshirt freshman Nathan Stolz stepped up to provide a career-high nine points off the bench, hitting 3-of-5 from the field, and adding five rebounds.

The visitors played valiant defense, regardless, holding Mid-America Christian to 24 points below its season average (97.8) and well below its shooting average (54.3 percent). The hosts hit 21 of 48 (44 percent) from the field, but only converted 30 percent from behind the 3-point arc (7 of 23). After an abysmal shooting mark in the first half (31 percent), the Golden Eagles found their touch in the second, sinking 12 of 26 (46 percent), but committed another 12 miscues after fighting through 11 in the first 20 minutes of play.

Junior Kiree Hutchings' layup with 5:31 left in the first half pulled John Brown within eight, 27-19, but that would be the final points JBU scored in the half as the Evangels regained a double-digit lead that they never relinquished.

Harper finished the contest with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added three assists and a trio of steals. Junior Densier Carnes added 12 points and eight boards, while junior Rokas Grabliauskas contributed 11 points.

MACU featured a quartet of double-digit scorers, led by D'Von Moore's 20 points off the bench. Moore hit four triples and added four rebounds and four assists. Three starters contributed 11 points apiece in Tony Dorsey, Ashford Golden and Cedric Wright.

John Brown welcomes Central Christian to Bill George Arena on Thursday for more Sooner Athletic play. Admission is free as the matchup is scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m.

Sports on 01/08/2020

Print Headline: No. 3 Evangels down Golden Eagles

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