Bruins teams’ seasons begin with preparation and success

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Bruins teams’ seasons begin with preparation and success

BJU Bruins Golf teams at Anderson University Invitational, Anderson, SC, September, 2019 (Chad Ratje)

The Bruins teams were hard at work preparing for this semester’s competition even before students began classes on Jan. 15. Both men’s and women’s basketball teams continued practicing even during Christmas break, returning to Greenville the last week of break to play several games. 

The basketball teams, as well as the track, shooting and golf teams, all compete during the spring semester, and the other programs will continue to train during their non-traditional seasons.

The men’s basketball team started strong in their NCCAA competition with a 5-0 record, defeating Trinity Baptist College, Johnson University, Pensacola Christian College and Toccoa Falls College. In all competitions, the team holds a record of 11-10. 

Having already beaten each of their NCCAA rivals once, and PCC twice, the team hopes to continue their solid tournament play in their remaining two NCCAA games. The men will play Toccoa Falls College on Feb. 17 and at home against Trinity Baptist College on Feb. 22.

One of the men’s team’s most notable performances came against PCC on Jan. 17. Supported by an energetic home crowd, the Bruins quickly pulled away from their rivals, eventually winning 111-79. 

Elijah Cupples, a freshman business administration major, shot 7 of 8 from 3 and finished the game with a season-high 34 points. The team beat PCC again on Feb. 8, taking their rival down with a score of 84-59.

The women’s basketball team also got off to a good start in their conference with a 3-2 record, beating Trinity Baptist College, Johnson University and Toccoa Falls College. The team currently holds an overall record of 10-11.

Their two conference losses came against PCC on Jan. 17 (with a score of 60-69)and on Feb. 8 (with a score of 66-88). 

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams have had the opportunity this season to compete in several games against NCAA competition, including Wofford College and the University of South Carolina Upstate.

BJU will host the NCCAA Division II regional basketball tournament from Feb. 27 to Feb. 29 as both Bruins teams hope to advance to their national tournaments in Joplin, Missouri, from March 12 to March 14. 

Dr. Neal Ring, the Bruins’ director of athletics, urged students to come and support their Bruins basketball teams, especially during the regional tournament hosted in the Davis Field House. “We’d love for the students to come out and support our teams at all home games,” he said. “They make a huge difference!”

The men’s and women’s track and field teams will also compete this spring. In their fifth season of intercollegiate competition, they will participate in eight events, beginning with a preseason tune-up race on Feb. 8.  

Last season the Bruins had several top individual performances and a strong showing across the various categories of competition, and this season they hope to improve on last season’s strong performance.

The entire Bruins program, with its 15 varsity programs, currently competes in the National Christian College Athletic Association and is now seeking provisional membership in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III. 

The initiative to attain NCAA DIII status was announced in October of 2017; since then, BJU has applied for DIII status. Ring said the program should hear from the NCAA regarding its status this February. 

In an effort to make the potential transition to the NCAA smoother, the Bruins program has begun to play more games against NCAA competition.

In addition to the potential NCAA DIII change, the Bruins baseball program will begin in the spring of 2021, and women’s lacrosse is scheduled to start in the spring of 2022.