The Ecclesia Royals (15-6) traveled to Joplin, Missouri to face Ozark Christian College (8-12), an NCCAA Division 2 team that has been receiving votes in the top 10 poll recently. The last meeting between the two schools was all but over in the first thirty minutes of the game before the Ambassadors of Ozark Christian mounted a ferocious comeback. The Royals led by 20 points only to win in the final seconds by a score of 92-91.
Defense from either team was scarce as the half-time score was 48-42 and the game was set for a blistering pace.
"I think we are very fortunate to get out of here with a win. The first half looked like a pick-up game, which is not our style of basketball. We want to play up-tempo and attack aggressively, but we have a system we follow. We did not have any type of system present in the first half on either end of the floor."
"Looked like we were in mud, or not interested in playing for a long stretch. Fortunately we have guys that can flat our play and they were able to make some big time plays to keep us ahead. That stuff does not fly for a full game though and that's what we reminded them of at half. We had 5 assists at the half which shows how individually we were playing, we average about 18."
"Second half was much better, particularly the way we closed the game. Great ball movement, good understanding of the time and score. We executed well down the stretch to win the game."
The Royals' win put an end to back-to-back losses as they pulled away from the Ambassadors for a 91-83 victory. Free throws were key as senior Wesley Bradford went 4-4 down the stretch and sophomore Chris Reed went 6-7 on the night. Freshmen Jamarius Graves continues to have the hot hand for the Royals as he led all scorers with 15 points while pulling in 6 rebounds. Freshmen Randy Hempstead continues his dominance in the paint as he contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Freshmen David Gaut Jr. and Sophomore Jarvis Green contributed 12 and 11 respectively, both pulling down 7 rebounds apiece also. Junior Austin Burroughs had 8 points to go with 8 rebounds.
The Royals will face Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri on Tuesday, Feb 9th at 7:00 PM.