From February 19-21 it was Barclay College’s turn in the rotation to host the Midwest Christian College Conference men’s and women’s basketball tournament. The Bear’s earned the #2 seed for the tournament following a 7-2 run through the regular season, finishing one game behind Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, Iowa).
With high hopes of a tournament championship in front of the home fans, the Bears cruised through the quarterfinals by dispatching Calvary Bible College (Belton, Mo.) by a score of 101-62. It was the Bears third victory over the Warriors and set up another showdown with Ozark Christian College (Joplin, Mo.) in the semifinals. The two previous meetings between them saw the Bears escape with one point victories each time. However, this time around the Ambassadors stormed out to an early lead, converted in transition at the buzzer right before halftime to go up 11, and then drained a three pointer to up their lead to 14 in the early seconds of the second half before the Bears methodically cut into the lead. They continually pounded the interior of the Ambassadors and in the waining moments of the game, came up with some huge defensive stops for a 92-86 win.
Top seeded Faith Baptist was able to navigate through an overtime thriller in their semifinal match with Manhattan Christian College (Manhattan, Kan.) to set the stage for the championship on Saturday afternoon with the Bears. In the opening seven minutes of the championship match, each team converted easily on the offensive end and the game was tied 23-23 before the Eagles got hot from distance. Over the next four minutes, the Eagles connected on five three pointers as part of a 20-0 run to gain control of the game. During the same stretch, Faith was able to slow down the Bears with a stingy 2-3 zone. From that point on, the Bears did not get any closer than ten points, eventually losing 87-99.
On Thursday, the Bears head down to Arlington, Texas to take on Ozark Christian in the opening round of National Christian College Athletic Association Southwest Region first round action. It is a single-elimination tournament for the five team region to earn an automatic bid to the national tournament in Ohio. Game time is set for 7 p.m.