Eagles fly high into OCU

The Golden Eagles keep facing tough tests on the road, and they keep acing them. They hope that trend continues.

The 10-1 Eagles, who were ranked fourth in Tuesday’s NAIA National Coaches Poll, will visit Oklahoma City on Saturday.

John Brown is coming off its fifth straight win over a ranked opponent, beating No. 20 Rogers State 81-74 on the road Monday night. The Stars are a team on the mend, and as of press time have won four straight since starting 1-6 in conference. OCU is in the tick of its conference schedule, and the OCU-JBU game on Saturday will be the Stars’ fifth game in 10 days.

The Stars are led by senior guard Troynell Adams, who is averaging 15.88 points per game this season. Adams was named the SAC Player of the Week after scoring 34 in the Stars’ 75-53 win over Wayland Baptist.

In conference play, the Stars are 3-3 at home and the Eagles are 4-1 on the road.

On Monday, the Eagles outlasted the Hillcats thanks to a double-double from freshman guard Kofi Josephs, who had season highs of 26 points, five three-pointers and 11 rebounds.

“It was fun to see him hit the threes, but it was also great to see him get rebounds and score [in the paint],” said head coach Clark Sheehy. “It was a hard win on the road, [and] it gives us confidence in the locker room.”

The game was close throughout, and the Eagles’ lead was as small as three points with only 29 seconds left, but Josephs hit a two-pointer and grabbed a rebound off a subsequent RSU miss to seal the game.

The Eagles have been in a lot of close games, with all but one of their conference games being within 5 points at some point in the last 10 minutes of the game.

They have now started to blow close games open at the end, with the Eagles winning their last three games by an average of 12.3 points.

Sheehy said despite the win, he still wants to see the team improve their rebounding. The Hillcats had 35 total rebounds.

The win was the last regular season game in a seven-year rivalry with Rogers State, who will be moving to NCAA Division II next season. As the closest school to John Brown in the SAC, Rogers State has been part of a geographic rivalry that was fierce in a handful of sports, none more than basketball. With their win, the Eagles lead the Hillcats 7-5 in their all-time series, with each having won one tournament matchup apiece. The teams could still meet in this year’s tournament.

The Eagles will travel to Oklahoma City next, facing the Stars at 5 p.m. Saturday.