This past weekend the Barclay College Bears men’s basketball team plunged into the thick of Midwest Christian College Conference play as they traveled to Calvary Bible College (Belton, M0.) on Friday night and then headed south to Joplin, MO to face Ozark Christian College. With one early MCCC loss to Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, Iowa) back in November, the Bears needed to get two road wins to keep pace with the top of the conference.
The Bears faced a zone defense throughout Friday night, but it did not take them long to pick it apart. With great team passing and spacing, the Bears capitalized at and around the rim consistently. The Warriors were able to stay within striking distance early in the game by capitalizing on a plethora of three pointers as they went 14-28 from that distance for the game. However, the Bears interior play proved to be too much for the Warriors. They stretched their lead to 49-32 at the half and then cruised to a 106-72 victory. The two keys for the Bear’s victory was out-rebounding the Warriors 36-12 and connecting on 27-31 from the charity stripe.
Senior Tony Graham (Baltimore, Md.) led the Bears with 31 points and 8 rebounds while sophomore Tanner Huck (Coldwater, Kan.) sparked the Bears with great energy in route to 20 points on 9-12 shooting from the field.
Saturday afternoon the Bears were looking to earn their first regular season win at Ozark Christian over the last five years. In the first half, the Bears were up to the challenge as they seemed one step quicker than the Ambassadors throughout the half. The Bears went to the locker room ahead 36-29. In the second half, the Bears pushed their lead to as many as ten points with eight and a half minutes left in the game, but then the Ambassadors made their push. Fatigue plagued the Bears down the stretch as Ozark capitalized on offensive rebound after offensive rebound. With under 30 seconds to play and the Bears leading by one with the ball, junior Charles Brodhead (Lompoc, Calif.) missed a runner in the lane. On the other end, the Bears were whistled for a foul on the drive which sent the Ambassador’s best player to the foul line with three seconds remaining on the clock. The first shot came up well short and the pressure was on. His second shot was short as well and the Bears luckily got a jump ball out of the situation. After a successful in-bounds play, Brodhead was fouled. He too left his free throw short and the Bears watched the Ambassadors three quarter court shot narrowly fall short.
The 64-63 win improved the bears to 3-1 in MCCC play and 6-10 overall. Brodhead led all scorers with 21 points as Huck added 17 points.
The Bears are next in action this Friday and Saturday at home. Friday they take on St. Louis Christian College (Florissant, Mo.) at 7:30 p.m. and then Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, Mo.) on Saturday at 4 p.m.