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Golden Eagles Gain Two Wins over Aggies

Released by Panhandle State Sports Information on 01/08/2018 Beverly Hintergardt photos Beverly Hintergardt photos

Siloam Springs, Ark.—The Panhandle State men's and women's basketball teams met with tough competition Saturday in a Sooner Athletic Conference double-header against John Brown University. The Aggie women fell to the No. 19 ranked Golden Eagles by a score of 86-53, while the men's team took it to the buzzer in a shootout that ended in a disappointing three-point loss (106-103).

The Aggie men battled back from a ten-point deficit in the first half to take a one-point lead (54-53) at the break. Consecutive three-pointers by Jace Kerr, Jaedon Whitfield and Thomas Ellis edged the Aggies into a five-point lead at the 8:57 mark. Kerr then added seven points with three straight jump shots and a free throw to hold the advantage in Panhandle's favor. Tyler Pate came through with five points on back-to-back baskets, and Ellis added two on a fast-break shot to pull Panhandle into a six-point lead with 4:05 left in the first half. Four turnovers and four fouls in the final four minutes of the period left the Aggies up by one at the half.

After the break, the Aggies appeared to be in full control, owning a 13-point lead five minutes into the second half; Kerr and Whitfield accounted for every point scored through the 14:50 mark. JBU then outscored the Aggies 10-1 over the following four minutes to pull within four points of Panhandle State. The Aggies maintained a solid lead throughout the second half, and held a nine-point advantage (100-91) with 2:45 left in the game. The Golden Eagles put down three shots from beyond the arc to tie things up at 100 with 1:09 to play. The game was won at the foul line, as JBU went 4-4 in free throws to take a 106-103 lead with eight seconds left on the clock; the Aggies could not connect on their final three-point attempt and left the court with a last-minute loss.

Men's Basketball Head Coach Jerry Olson stated after the game, "This was a tough loss. I? thought we played well enough to win. We couldn't get a stop down the stretch and we couldn't score. We lost Jace [Kerr] on a double technical foul with 4:07 to go which was his 5th foul. They lose a guy that had six points and we lose a guy that had 29; that was a bad trade off." Coach Olson give credit to their opponents commenting, "John Brown just beat a ranked team by 22 on Thursday. They hit big shot after big shot down the stretch and we didn't. They are a great team that is really well coached."

Kerr finished with a game-high of 29 points and totaled seven rebounds, two assists and one steal on the day. Whitfield marked another double-double performance with 26 points and ten rebounds. With five three-pointers in the game, Tyler Pate totaled 21 points followed by DK Sumo with 13 and Thomas Ellis with 11 point off the bench. Olson spoke of his key players, "I? thought Jace [Kerr] and Tyler [Pate] were their usual big-time selves. Jaedon [Whitfield] just continues to be a man possessed on the boards and only missed one shot. DK [Sumo], despite major foul trouble, still has a good game. I? thought Chandler Bryer was really good defensively and had five assists. TC Ellis gave us big-time energy off the bench." He adds, "I? love this team. We can play with anybody in the country. We need to respond in a good way to this tough loss. We come home to two tough games next week and need our crowds to help us in those games."

The women got off to a slow start, only scoring eight points in the first period, which left them down by 11 (19-8) going into the second. Although they improved from a 27 percent shooting average in period one to over 41 percent in period two, they retained a 19-point deficit at halftime (41-22). JBU shot at 67 percent in the third quarter to edge a 68-39 lead. Panhandle State put in a good defensive effort in the fourth with 14 rebounds, but failed to bring in the second-chance points to stay in the game. In the end, the Aggies were outscored 23-16 in points off turnovers and outmatched 37-6 in bench points. The Aggies finished with a 33 percent shooting average from the field, while the Golden Eagles performed at 48 percent. JBU also shot 53 percent from three-point range, landing 21 shots from beyond the arc; the Aggies offered up 22 attempts and connected on seven.

Sophomore Addison Munsch led the team with 20 points, shooting a perfect 3-3 at the line and from three-point range. Munsch also led at the boards with eight rebounds for a game-high. Madison Dearmin was strong inside, hitting on five of seven attempts; the senior totaled 17 points and brought down seven rebounds for the Aggies. Monti Regier added six points on two three-point shots and got two steals in the game. Hannah Faulks contributed all-around with four points, five rebounds, one block and one steal. Back for her second game after injury, Shambri Kelso led off the bench with four points off one three-pointer and a free throw. Kelso was credited with two of the Aggies' six assists; John Brown spread things out with a total of 23 assists on the day.

Eager to get back in front of a home crowd, Head Coach Victor Esparza said this of the women's performance on Saturday, "They [JBU] got hot early and we couldn't stop them from making threes. They really spread the floor and put five shooters in. It was a tough game for us, but we will learn from it and get better." He concluded, "I'm proud of our kids, they never give up and we continue to play hard."

Both Aggie basketball teams now hold 8-4 season records. The men own a 2-3 record within the conference and the women are 1-4 in SAC play. Panhandle State basketball returns to the Anchor D Arena this week with Sooner Athletic Conference games against Mid-America Christian on Thursday, Jan. 11 and University of Science and Arts-Oklahoma on Saturday, Jan. 13. Thursday's back-to-back matchups begin at 6 p.m. starting with the women's game, and Saturday's games tip-off at 3 p.m. Aggie fans can follow along with live stats and video links available at opsuaggies.com.


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