Fourth-Quarter Heroics Lift Evangel Crusaders Past Ravens
Score: Evangel 71, Benedictine 62
Records: Evangel (7-5, 5-4), Benedictine (9-5, 7-3)
Location: Ashcroft Center
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Abby Oliver poured home 16 fourth-quarter points and Bayley Harman tallied a career-high 23 points to propel the Evangel women’s basketball team to 71-62 victory over Benedictine in Heart of America Athletic Conference action Wednesday evening at the Ashcroft Center.
In just her second game with the Crusaders, Oliver overcame a 1-for-11 start to knock down all five of her fourth-quarter field goal attempts, combining with Harman to register the final 22 EU points of the night. The senior All-America transfer scored 14-straight points for EU, starting with a critical three-pointer with just over eight minutes to play that gave the Crusaders a nine-point cushion.
After Benedictine responded by holding EU scoreless and cutting the lead to one point over the ensuing five minutes, Oliver converted a floater in the lane to make it a 58-55 contest, then drained a back-breaking trey with 1:44 to play.
Another Oliver basket and two successful free-throw attempts preserved a seven-point EU advantage. BC would get no closer than five points the rest of the way, as Oliver and Harman combined to sink all eight of their tries from the charity stripe over the final 39 seconds to lock up the Crusaders’ second-straight Heart Conference win.
Harman finished the night 6-of-10 from the floor and 11-of-12 at the foul line while recording a game-high four steals. Oliver totaled 18 points, and Brianna Vogts chipped in with 14 thanks to a 6-of-9 effort from the floor.
The Crusaders forced 22 BC turnovers—while committing just eight of their own—and limited the Ravens to a 2-of-17 showing from beyond the three-point arc.
Evangel turned in a clutch team performance at the foul line, going 20-of-22 (0.909) for the game.
EU fought back from a pair of five-point deficits in the opening period, scoring the first 10 points of the second quarter to seize a 25-20 advantage. Vogts accounted for six of those EU points, including an 18-foot jumper at the 7:32 mark that put the Crusaders on top.
The Ravens cut into the margin by scoring five of the next seven points, but four straight EU points—including another bucket from Vogts—extended the Crusader lead to 31-25 with 1:31 left in the half.
EU built its halftime edge behind a strong defensive effort that forced 11 BC turnovers in the opening half. The Crusaders came up with seven steals and shut out the Ravens from three-point range (0-for-6).
The Crusaders extended their lead to as many as eight points in the third period, using a 12-6 spurt midway through the quarter to claim a 45-37 edge. Harman scored six consecutive EU points, before Oliver knocked down her first jumper of the night with 3:23 left on the clock to hand the home team an eight-point lead.
But BC responded with a 7-0 run behind five points from Ali Brzozowski, trimming the EU advantage to just one point.
Benedictine shot 0.450 (27-of-60) for the game, but struggled from long range all night, misfiring on its first 14 tries from three-point range.
Natalie Smaron led the Ravens with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Brzozowski recorded 16 points for BC.
UP NEXT: Evangel will travel to Fayette, Mo., Saturday (Jan. 16) for a 2 p.m., contest against Central Methodist at Puckett Field House.
Ravens Bury Crusaders With Early Offensive Onslaught
The Basics: Score: Benedictine 87, Evangel 49
Records: Evangel (7-8, 6-4), Benedictine (11-3, 8-2)
Location: Ashcroft Center
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –Benedictine connected on its first nine field-goal attempts of the game and built a 29-point first-half lead over the Evangel men’s basketball team before cruising to an 87-49 Heart of America Athletic Conference victory Wednesday evening at the Ashcroft Center.
Led by Matt Austin’s 10 points, the Ravens knocked down their first five tries from beyond the three-point arc and 10 of their first 11 overall shots from the floor en route to establishing a 29-10 lead just eight-and-a-half minutes into the contest.
Austin buried a pair of three-pointers in the game’s first three minutes and recorded each of his game-high 14 points in the opening half to help set the tone for a Benedictine offense that shot 0.593 (32-of-54) for the game and connected on a blistering 54.2 percent (13-of-24) of its attempts from three-point range.
After hitting just five of its first 22 field-goal tries of the night, EU briefly trimmed the gap to 17 points before the Ravens went on a 15-3 run to extend their lead to 44-15 late in the half. Eight different Ravens broke into the scoring column in the half to help BC take a 46-20 advantage into intermission.
The Ravens continued their torrid shooting in the second stanza, hitting on 11 of their first 15 tries from the floor to stretch the margin to 45 points midway through the half. Nysir Scott matched Austin’s first-half shooting performance by going 4-for-4 from the floor in the second half, including 10 points during a 15-0 scoring run.
EU would get no closer than 36 over the final 9:29, finishing just 16-of-62 (0.258) from the field and 3-of-17 (0.176) from beyond the arc.
Cade Coffman led the Crusaders with 12 points, while Max Bilbrey and Jace Coffiecombined for 11 points and eight rebounds off the EU bench.
The Crusaders will look to halt their four-game skid with a 4 p.m., contest against Central Methodist Saturday (Jan. 16) at Puckett Field House in Fayette, Mo.