Huntsville, Ala. – The Ambassadors of Oakwood University (Ala.) held the Bryan College Lions Men's Basketball team to their lowest scoring game of the season. Even though the Lions outscored the Ambassadors 19-26 in the first half, Bryan was unable to stop Oakwood when they managed to take the lead 45-43 at the 7:27 mark in the final half and never surrendered it, finishing with the 64-59 win over Bryan.
The Lions had two double-digit scorers in Brandon Cole (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) (28 points, 10-16) and Tyler Yoder (SO/Crossville, Tenn.) (11 points, 4-9). Cole added a team-high nine rebounds. Robert Troino (SR/Crossville, Tenn.) and Brice Cusick (SO/Jefferson City, Tenn.) followed with eight points, respectively. Cusick also registered eight boards.
The Ambassadors jumped out to an early 10-6 lead after scoring the first five points of the game. The Lions rallied to regain the lead 10-14 after scoring eight straight unanswered points, starting and ending with Cole at the foul line. Yoder netted a shot behind the arc and also found Cole for the easy basket to close out the first half, 19-26.
Midway through the second half, Oakwood battled back to the cut the margin to one, 40-41. Cole scored the next bucket, but the Ambassadors countered with a shot from downtown to even the score, 43-43. The Lions maintained close distance to the Ambassadors until the dagger came from a three-pointer from Oakwood with two minutes left to play to take a seven-point lead, 56-49. In the final minute it was difficult for Bryan to make up ground as Oakwood connected on 6-9 bonus free throws. A lest second three-pointer from Yoder pulled the Lions within five points, but Oakwood took the 64-59 victory.
Bryan finished 38. 1 percent (21-55) from the floor, which trailed Oakwood's 43.1 percent (22-51). The Lions team outrebounded the Ambassadors 38-35. A game-changer for Oakwood came from the 29 points scored off the bench compared to four points from bench scoring for Bryan.
After coming up short by only a few points for the second time this season against Oakwood, Head Bryan College Men's Basketball Coach, Don Rekoske explained, "We finished out the first half with the lead, but what hurt us as the second half progressed was missed free throws, a few too many turnovers, and poor shooting." As the Lions attempted to make a comeback, Rekoske mentioned, "The backbreaker was the banked-in three-pointer as time wound down."
The reason the Lions were able to make it a close game even after struggling on the offensive side, Rekoske said, "The difference in the two halves was the better execution on defense in the first half, keeping Oakwood from scoring from the outside. If we played a better second half defensively, we could have came away with the win."
The loss moves the Lion's overall record to 4-5. Up next, the Lions play host to Bluefield College (Va.) tomorrow at 7:30pm in an Appalachian Athletic Conference showdown.
For the full Bryan College Men's Basketball schedule, click here.