The National Christian College Athletic Association division II #5 ranked Barclay College men’s basketball team had their first game action this last weekend since a December 5 win against Central Christian College of the Bible (Moberly, Mo.). They welcomed Ecclesia College (Springdale, Ark.) and #2 Arlington Baptist College (Arlington, Texas) to Haviland for a pair of high intensity games to open the new year.
The Bears previously lost a tight game to Ecclesia in their very first game of the season and were looking for a little revenge on Friday night. They stormed out to an 18-4 lead in the opening minutes of the game behind some stellar three point shooting before Ecclesia slowly and methodically whittled the lead down to four at intermission. The game went back and fourth in the second half before the Bears went ice cold from the field, shooting a dismal 2-14 from behind the arc in the second half. In the end, Ecclesia snuck out of Hockett Auditorium with a 97-87 win behind 57% shooting from the field, including 52% shooting from three point range.
Junior Lex Pena (Woodhaven, N.Y.) paced the Bears with 21 points and 6 boards off the bench.
Saturday afternoon, the Bears took on Southwest Region foe #2 ranked Arlington Baptist College. The Bears beat #1 Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College (Moore, Okla.) earlier in the year and looked to improve their region record to 2-0 but the Patriots would be no push over. They featured a ton of athleticism and experience to make it a whale of a game. The Bears held a narrow lead, thanks to some tenacious full court pressure, for most of the first half before ceding a buzzer beater to end the half tied at 42 all. In the second half, the Patriots were able to use some of their own full-court pressure to build several leads only to see the Bears claw back each and every time. At the 7:27 mark, the Patriots were forced to call a timeout as the Bears had narrowed their lead to one, 82-83. Over the next four minutes, the Bears went 0-4 from the field, including three missed three lay-ups, had three unforced turnovers, and went 0-4 from the free throw line to find themselves trailing 82-95. It was a stretch the Bears were unable to overcome as the Patriots went onto win 112-93 to keep things tight at the top of the Southwest Region standings.
Sophomore Jay Milton (Paris, Texas) led the Bears with 17 points and 6 rebounds as three other Bears scored in double digits as well.
The Bears look to bounce back this coming Friday when they travel to Dallas to take on Dallas Christian College and then try to even things up with Arlington Baptist on Saturday afternoon.