Bears Upset in SW Region Tournament

On Thursday, February 26th the Barclay College men’s basketball team began their opening round of the playoffs with a familiar foe in Ozark Christian College (Joplin, Mo.). The Bears were the #4 seed in the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II Southwest Region Tournament hosted in Arlington, Texas while Ozark was the #5 seed. Even though it was the fourth time the two teams would meet over the last six weeks, the Bears had managed to beat the Ambassadors every time they had played, but always in dramatic fashion; two one point victories in the regular season and a six point victory the week prior in the semifinals of the Midwest Christian College Conference Tournament. This time, however, the Bears were unable to come through down the stretch.

As expected, this game was as tightly contested as the previous three meetings with 15 lead changes and eight ties. The largest lead of the game came early in the first half when the Ambassadors pushed the lead to 22-14 before the Bears narrowed the gap to just five at halftime, 34-39. As the second half progressed, the Bears relentless attack started to pay dividends. They grabbed the lead several times before Ozark pushed the lead back up to five. With less than two minutes left in the balance, the Bears once again cut the lead to one before senior Tony Graham (Baltimore, Md.) was called for his fifth foul on a charge call. Then, somehow in the excitement of the game, the scoreboard operator unfortunately fouled up the scoreboard and instead of the Bears trailing by one, as they originally thought, the Bears found themselves down three with just 80 seconds left. One missed shot later and the Ambassadors held on for their only win against the Bears this year. Consequently, this loss ended the Bear’s season (12-16) and advanced the Ambassadors into the semifinals against #1 seeded Dallas Christian College (Dallas, Texas).  Dallas would go on to win the regional tournament and will represent the Southwest Region at the national tournament.

While every statistical category was the nearly the same, the only difference was the Ambassador’s ability to get to the foul line. The Bears were whistled for twice as many fouls as Ozark . It marked the only time all season that the Bears never reached the bonus in either half of a game.

Graham ended the game as the Bears leader scorer with 17 points and 8 rebounds while freshman Jay Milton (Paris, Texas) slashed his way to 13 points and junior Charles Brodhead (Lompoc, Calif.) added 12 points and eight rebounds. Brodhead and Graham were both recognized as All-Region players for their play during the regular season. Brodhead was named to the first team, while Graham was named to the second.