The Golden Eagles are making history left and right.
John Brown University’s men’s basketball team, which is ranked 4th in the nation, is off to a 6-0 start in conference play.
The Eagles have not started 6-0 in at least a decade and JBU has ever been ranked higher than 7th in the program’s history before this week’s No. 4 ranking.
“It’s a reflection on our league and how much people respect our conference,” said head coach Clark Sheehy. “I credit [the ranking] to our good start and our ability to stay focused.”
The Eagles will look to continue their historic run and extend their conference record to 7-0 on the road at Lubbock Christian Thursday night.
JBU has had a balanced offensive attack all season, and is currently ranked 3rd in the NAIA in 3-pointers per game (9.700).
The Chaparrals also have an effective outside attack and rank 4th in the NAIA in 3-point shooting percentage. LCU is in seventh place in conference with a 3-3 record. They are coming off an 82-72 loss to USAO on Saturday, a game in which they let USAO shoot 60 percent from the field.
“Lubbock Christian is going to be prepared whether or not a team is ranked,” Sheehy said.
Meanwhile the Eagles were continuing their success against ranked opponents.
JBU went from No. 10 to No. 4 in Tuesday’s NAIA Coaches’ poll after a week in which they beat the No. 5 team in the nation and beat the second place team in the conference. The Eagles are now 4-1 this season against ranked opponents. Last Tuesday the Eagles won a stunner on the road, 75-70, over Oklahoma Baptist in the NAIA game of the week.
The Bison, who were ranked fifth at the time, led until a minute left and at one point had a second half lead as large as eight points. The Eagles came back and took the lead late with the help of a highlight reel dunk by freshman forward D’Shon Taylor and a 21-point night from freshman guard Kofi Josephs. Josephs won SAC player of the week in honor for his performance. The Eagles had not won in Shawnee since 2005 and their win snapped OBU’s 33-game home winning streak dating back to 2011.
“It’s been phenomenal to see that team grow,” said Athletic Director Robyn Daugherty. “The level of competitiveness and intensity jumps when you get to SAC games, and [they] rise to that and … they’re still not playing their best basketball.”
The Golden Eagles followed up their big win by beating Mid-America Christian, 76-58. The win over MACU put JBU two games ahead of Oklahoma Baptist and 2.5 games up on MACU. The Eagles went into halftime up 31-29 off a Max Hopfgartner breakaway dunk at the buzzer. After half time they had a 24-4 run to put the game away early. Hopfgartner led the Eagles with 22 points.
The Eagles’ next game is Thursday at 8 p.m. at Lubbock Christian.