Despite an underwhelming first couple of games, the Golden Eagles men’s basketball team is off to a 5-0 start for the season.
The Eagles trailed at halftime to TP Game opponent Hillsdale Baptist, a team the Eagles usually beat handily. Also, John Brown took overtime to beat Central Baptist.
Despite those unusually close games early in the season, sophomore forward Max Hopfgardner said he was not worried about the teams level of play.
“Central Baptist has a decent team,” said Hopfgardner. “[Hillsdale] was definitely better than last year too.”
On Tuesday the Eagles beat Ozark Cristian 79-48.
Senior guard Coleson Rakestraw had a team leading 15 points and 3 three-pointers.
The Eagles won going away, opening the game on a 25-5 run, leading 39-20 at halftime.
Earlier, the Eagles played NCAA Division II opponent Missouri Southern in a no-count exhibition game. The Eagles lost 83-63 in a game they trailed in by as much as 30 points.
Despite MSSU being a NCAA opponent, Hopfgarder felt JBU had the talent to win.
“They were not more talented than us,” said Hopfgarner. “It should have been a close game.”
Next up for the Eagles is a game tonight at 7 p.m. at home against Lyons. The Scots are 2-2 on the season thus far.
Lyons senior guard Marcus Humose ranks 15th in the NAIA in points per game with 22.5. He had a team leading 17 points in the Scots’ 84-63 loss to Blue Mountain (Miss.) on Saturday.
As for preparing for Lyons and any other opponent during the Eagles’ long non-conference schedule, Hopfgarner said the team does not have specific game plans for specific teams.
“What [we are] worried about right now is just what we do and not really what they are going to do against us,” he said.
At this point in the season the team is working on rebounding and playing more physically as well as practicing better screens.
“We have a lot of work to get in before our first conference game,” he said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time for our new guys to get
used to the offense.”
The Eagles still have nine remaining non conference games before their conference opener Jan 3 vs Oklahoma City.