Langston Gaither's tip-in with 1 second remaining lifted Science & Arts (Okla.) to a 70-68 victory over the John Brown men's basketball team to kick off Sooner Athletic Confernece play on Thursday, Nov. 17, inside Bill George Arena.
In what was a back and forth second half, the Golden Eagles had tied the game at 68 when James Beckom split a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left in the game.
The Drovers' Cejay Mann, a former Alma standout, missed a layup but Gaither was there for the tip-in.
"He's a senior," USAO coach Chris Francis said of Gaither. "Been through some adversity, fighting fouls, had a bloody face. He could have easily turned his head down and gave up. He did the opposite and kept playing, stayed with it, crashed hard, made plays at the end. That's what we expect our seniors to do."
The Drovers led 27-11 in the first half and held a lead until 6:42 left in the contest when JBU scored on a traditional three-point play by Tyren Collins.
The Golden Eagles led by as many as four points after another Collins basket later in the half.
"You know you get down to these kind of games, it comes down to one or two plays," said JBU coach Jason Beschta. "It's not we lost the game by missing a shot, or making a shot. It's not really about that. To win in some of these it takes something special. It takes a tip in out of nowhere on something. It might take finishing something that we missed, grabbing a rebound that we came just off on, making one free throw. You're not going to put it on one person or one play."
It was JBU's third one-possession loss of the season with the other two coming against Philander Smith, both at home and on the road.
"All three games we've lost in the last possesion we've been down," Beschta said. "Now we don't want to be down, but we've been down and made it a game, and we've shot the ball poorly from three and still been in it. So as we keep doing little things better that aren't just shooting, then we're going to give ourselves a chance, and then on nights where we're really shooting it, hopefully we've got a chance to put some people away."
Gerard Makuntae led the Drovers with 23 points, including two straight 3-pointers late in the second half.
Samkelo Cele added 19 points off the bench for the Drovers, while Gaither had 10 points.
Collins led JBU with 18 points, while Noah Taylor had 12 and Beckom 11 points and 15 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles hit 24 of 60 shots from the field, but only 7 of 26 from long range.
Texas Wesleyan 83, John Brown 70
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Unable to weather five lead changes in the second half, the John Brown University men's basketball team fell in 83-70 fashion to Texas Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 19) inside the Sid Richardson Center.
The Golden Eagles (2-5, 0-2 Sooner Athletic) led by five, 61-56, with 9:54 remaining, but an offensive rut just wouldn't resolve itself as the visitors finished the contest 3-of-16 from the field, allowing Wesleyan (2-3, 1-1) to end the afternoon on a 27-9 run over the final 9:37 of the second half.
Senior Payton Guiot scored a game-high 24 points on 7-of-18 shooting, scoring six triples and adding four rebounds. Sophomore Latrell Maitland was the only other Golden Eagle able to finish in double-figure scoring with 12 points on an efficient 5-of-8 shooting effort.
The visitors shot 44 percent from the field (26-of-59) but were only able to convert 12 times from deep on 35 chances. Inside the arc, JBU hit 58 percent of shots attempted.
"I thought we really battled well for the first 32 minutes of the game, but those last eight minutes were tough," head coach Jason Beschta admitted. "[Texas Wesleyan] did a great job of attacking the basket during that stretch and finishing some tough drives. Add to that some missed shots, a couple turnovers and we just couldn't get things back on track.
"It won't get any easier going forward, but we have to just focus on continuing to improve, and we have to find a way to finish games."
Keyaun Hoskin led a quintet of Rams in double-digit scoring with 20 points, six rebounds and three steals. Akili Vining posted 17 points on 8-for-8 shooting at the charity stripe, while Gavin Harris and Lamine Komara added 14 points each. Micale Mee came off the bench to add 10 as the Rams' broke a three-game skid.
John Brown was scheduled to host Evangel (Mo.) on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Results were not available at presstime.
The Golden Eagles return to Sooner Athletic Conference play on Thursday, Dec. 1, at Central Christian (Kan.).