The Ecclesia Royals (16-6) traveled to Springfield, Missouri to face the Ambassadors of Baptist Bible College (8-16) for a Tuesday night match-up. The Royals won the previous match-up between the two schools 96-71.
"Baptist Bible is going to play 40 minutes as hard and as loose as possible. They're never out of a game, they're never rattled by the score no matter their opponent. They're going to play their game and shoot with confidence, and that's something I've learned having not beaten them at their place since I arrived."
"It's difficult to play against because at any moment they'll take a shot and it's a shot they can make because it's within their offense. They want a game in the 100's, and we aren't against that at all, but our advantage was within structure and in the paint tonight. Something we exploited offensively but took for granted defensively tonight."
The pace was frenetic from the start as both teams quickly fired off 40 apiece in the first half to go to the break all tied up. The Royals shuffled 14 players in and out in the first half and all contributed well, but the team could not quite find a line-up to put the Ambassadors at bay.
The second half would turn for the worst as the Royals found themselves down by 8 and 9 points multiple times throughout the first 16 minutes as the Ambassadors hit 10 threes in regulation, the most the Royals have given up in a single game all year. In the final four minutes of the game the Royals refused to lose though, getting stop after stop and knocking down all-important free-throws down the stretch.
With the game knotted at 87 apiece, the Royals called timeout with 12.8 seconds to go. With the play drawn up, the Ambassadors gave their all to keep the ball out of the hot hands of junior Austin Burroughs and freshmen David Gaut. The broken play led to a final second attempt from just behind the free-throw line by freshmen Randy Hempstead that missed as time expired. Overtime.
"We had another timeout to use once we saw the play was broken, but we had all the momentum in our favor and we had five guys out there capable of making a play. If Randy had that shot five more times, I guarantee he hits it on four of them, so I had no problem with the attempt at all. They executed what I drew up and Baptist Bible defended it well. We took the shot as time expired and made sure we either won, or went to overtime."
"We had all the momentum going into overtime and were playing really well, I just told the guys look, you're on a 9 point run right now and just have to look to extend it. Don't play like it's even because we are in control, go and take this thing."
Junior Austin Burroughs would proceed to score the Royals first 8 points of overtime giving them a 6-point lead with 3:02 remaining. The Ambassadors would chip away and cut the lead to 4 on a couple of occasions, but the Royals proved to be too tough down the stretch as freshmen Marwin Taylor delivered the final blow with a 3 pointer as the shot-clock expired putting his team up 8 with just 35 seconds left in the overtime period. The Royals missed just one free-throw in overtime to secure the 99-94 road victory.
Burroughs finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds while Gaut finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds, and senior Wesley Bradford had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists while going 7-8 from the free-throw line on the night.
The Royals will face Rhema Bible College on Saturday, February 13th at 7:30PM in Broken Arrow, OK.