Over the weekend the Barclay College men’s basketball team concluded its first semester schedule with two road Midwest Christian College Conference games. On Friday night the Bears made the long trek to St. Louis to take on St. Louis Christian College, and then on Saturday they went head-to-head with Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, Mo.).
The Bears went into their contest with SLCC with high hopes of taking care of business early and quickly, however, the Soldiers didn’t get that memo. From the tip-off they just simply played with more energy and passion than the Bears. The result was a very tight game throughout. Midway through the first half, the Bears found themselves trailing by 8 before they closed the half out with a burst of offensive firepower to take the narrowest of leads into the half, 45-43.
The one-win Soldiers showed no quit as they made tough shot after tough shot and were relentless on the glass, out-rebounding the Bears 37-31 on the game. The Soldiers’ upset bid was halted because of their inability to stop the Bears’ offensive juggernaut that shot 57% from the field. Another offensive spurt built the Bears’ lead to nine with under four minutes left in the game, before the Soldiers’ mounted one last run. Following a made three by the Soldiers and four consecutive missed free-throws by the Bears, the Soldiers had possession of the ball with 4 seconds left and only trailing by a pair. Sophomore Jay Milton (Paris, Texas) spear headed the final defensive stand for the Bears by deflecting and then coming up with a steal to close the game out. The 101-99 win gave the Bears the 1-0 start they wanted, but not in the fashion they envisioned.
Saturday afternoon the Bears faced any even tougher opponent in CCCB. As the Bears struggled against SLCC on Friday night, the Saints were convincingly taking down #6 Manhattan Christian College (Manhattan, Kans.). It was sure to be an epic battle between two top tier teams. The Bears came out hungry and frustrated with their performance the previous night and jumped out of the gate quickly, forcing an early time-out by the Saints. The Saints’ methodically built momentum as the half progressed however. After a made three-pointer, they briefly held the lead until the Bears countered behind the relentlessness of freshmen Quinton Walker (Paris, Texas) and junior Jay Bradley (Wichita, Kans.). The two combined for 17 first half points to allow the Bears to take 46-39 lead into halftime.
The Bears were able to withstand a Saints run early in the second half before they presumed control. With just under 8 minutes left in the match, the Bears stretched their lead to double digits thanks to their relentless attack of the rim. In the second half alone, the Bears shot a blistering 53% from the field. In the end, the Bears’ depth gave them the upper hand. The Saints starting five featured a ton of athleticism and skill, but they seemed to run out of gas in the later stages of the game.
Senior Charles Brodhead (Lompoc, Calif.) led the Bears in scoring over the weekend. He posted 26 points against SLCC and 23 against CCCB. Juniors David Lewis (Minden, La.) and Bradley added 15 and 13 points respectively against SLCC. Bradley also dropped in 22 points against CCCB while pulling down 12 rebounds. In addition, Walker was extremely efficient from the field going 6-7 for 13 points against SLCC and 5-7 for 15 points against CCCB.
The Bears (4-6, 2-0) now take a long sabbatical from the court for Christmas break. They don’t play again until January 8 at home against Ecclesia College (Springdale, Ark.).