In a game that thrilled a packed Davis Field House to the last second, the BJU men’s basketball team defeated the Warren Wilson College Owls 75-73.
The Bruins came into the game trying to shake off a loss from earlier in the week and add another win to their stats. The Owls had beaten the Bruins earlier in the season 77-61. The Bruins had an advantage for this game, though, with the energy of 1,300 Bruins fans in the stands.
In the first half, the Bruins struggled to put points on the board. After freshman guard Chae Dexter scored a 2-point bucket, the Owls quickly took control of the game for most of the first half. Forcing turnovers with their full-court-press defense, the Owls, led by junior guard Justin Gonyea, scored 14 straight to take the lead 14-2.
After junior guard Ray Holden put another point on the board from a foul shot, making the score 14-3, the Owls continued their run, and the Bruins soon found themselves down 28-12. The Bruins had gotten many open looks and scoring opportunities, but their shots were not falling. But the Bruins turned up the defensive pressure and started breaking the Owls’ press to surge back.
Dexter and Holden helped add to the Bruins’ score with multiple drives to the basket to generate foul shot opportunities and a one-handed dunk from Holden. A 19-5 run from the Bruins tightened the score gap, making it 38-33 at halftime.
As the second half opened, the Owls took back control and quickly gained a 45-35 lead. The Bruins started driving the ball in, making shots and biding their time until they took the lead 53-52 on a shot by junior forward Kyle Turner.
Both teams were now playing with a high level of energy, exchanging the lead every few possessions and keeping the fans on the edges of their seats. For the rest of the game, neither team had more than a 4-point lead.
With 54 seconds left to play, the game was tied at 72 each. Freshman guard Marshall Riddle sent a pass down the court to Kyle Turner who put up a 3-point shot that swished with 6.1 seconds left to give the Bruins a 75-72 lead. The Owls tried to run down the court and hit a 3-point shot to tie the game, but Owls’ senior guard Ty Johnson was fouled before he could shoot the ball. After sinking the first free throw, he missed the second and the Owls rebounded the ball. But the Owls’ shot bounced off the rim and the Bruins held on for the 75-73 win.