The Bruins men’s basketball team opened the BMW Bruin Invitational Friday, Nov. 14, with a 65-58 win over Johnson University, but fell in their second game to Kentucky Christian University with a 74-64 loss.
The three gorgeous Mini Coopers parked outside the Davis Field House Friday and Saturday were loaned to the University by Century BMW of Greenville for the two-day BMW Invitational.
This event pitted the BJU Bruins, Columbia International University Rams, Kentucky Christian University Knights and Johnson University Royals against each other in an action-packed weekend.
In their first game, the Bruins shot ahead with an 8-0 lead against the Royals. Continuing with their impressive defense, the home team buckled down against the opponent, holding them scoreless for the first five minutes.
The Royals managed to seize momentum from the Bruins, gaining a one-point lead in the middle of the half. But a 3-pointer from junior Noah Smith put the Bruins back ahead. Still hanging on, the Royals kept the score close and ended the half down by a single point.
Starting the second half, the Bruins again boosted to a 9-1 run. Smith continued to hit shots from behind the line, while freshman Marshall Riddle scored key baskets in the paint.
The team built a double-digit lead, but watched as it was ripped away by the Royals.
With the scoreboard at 54-53, the Bruins still held a slim advantage. Ball possession seesawed between the two teams until Riddle took a steal down the court for a layup. That play changed the momentum of the second half. The Bruins held the lead and finished the game with a score of 65-58.
Smith and Riddle led the team with 16 points each. Junior Ray Holden contributed 10 points, and brothers Kyle and Corey Turner crashed the boards with 14 rebounds.
Although injured in the game against Columbia International, freshman Dustin Killough shared some key insights from the bench. “In the second half, everyone started getting into the game, and we got on that run,” he said. “We also got the crowd involved, and things just shifted our way. We had momentum on our side in the second half.”
Combining a defensive and offensive juggernaut, the Bruins scored an impressive win against the formidable Royals.
The Bruins took the court again Saturday afternoon against Kentucky Christian. Looking to remain undefeated at home, the Bruins were unable to keep that streak alive as the Knights barely edged out the home team.
As in their previous game, the Bruins took the initiative with an early 7-0 run. But the team’s shooting machine began to sputter midway through the half. Shooting a mere 31 percent from the field, the Bruins were unable to convert shots into points.
The Knights, on the other hand, came alive. Carried by three of their starters, they managed to cut the Bruins lead down to three points, ending the half at 25-22.
Although the Bruins managed to capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the second half, they were plagued by turnovers. Those mistakes, combined with hot shooting from the Knights, allowed Kentucky Christian to creep past the Bruins. Despite six straight points from sophomore Corey Turner, the Knights were undeterred. They closed the game with a 10-point lead.
With the scoreboard at 74-64, the Bruins took their first home loss of the season. Despite 21 points from freshman Marshall Riddle, 16 from sophomore Corey Turner, and 13 from junior Kyle Turner, KCU managed to score off 18 Bruins turnovers.
“We usually shoot the ball extremely well, but tonight they weren’t falling for us,” Killough said. “We just weren’t in rhythm.”