HOUSTON (BP)--Houston Baptist University went ice-cold in the second half, and Biola University pulled away in the final six minutes to hand the Huskies an 82-69 loss at the Second Baptist Eagle Holiday Classic on Monday afternoon at Second Baptist High School.
Both teams started out slow, with Biola holding a 3-0 lead just four minutes into the game. After the Eagles took a 17-12 lead with 11:46 to go, Kendrick Bridges hit two straight three-pointers to give the Huskies an 18-17 advantage.
Biola then went ahead with an 11-3 run, pushing the lead to 28-21 with 6:09 remaining before the half, as Nate Strong hit two from long distance to pace the spurt. HBU would fight its way back, and with four seconds to go in the half, Mike Smith drove the length of the court for a layup and three-point play to pull the Huskies to within two, 41-39 at the break.
The second half started with another run by Biola, as the Eagles used back-to-back putbacks from Abiobun Medupin to push their lead to 51-45 with 14:08 to go. HBU once again clawed its way back, and after a layup from Josh Brian, trailed only 60-56 with 7:24 to go.
From there, the Huskies went cold from the floor. Bryan Weakley's three-pointer from the top of the key pushed the lead to nine, 74-65, with just 2:48 to go in the game, and after another lay-in from Medupin made the score 76-67, the Huskies were forced to foul in the final 1:33. The Eagles converted all six of their free throws to seal the win.
HBU shot just 40 percent from the floor, and 65 percent from the line. The Huskies managed just 30 points in the second half. Biola shot 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from the three-point line.
Charles Fordjour registered a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Kendrick Bridges also added 14 points to lead the Huskies. Mike Smith had 11 points, and Michael Holmquist and Josh Brian added nine and eight respectively.
Nate Strong rebounded from a four-point outing on Saturday to score a game-high 26 points on 11-17 shooting from the floor. He hit four of five three-pointers, to go along with seven boards. Mark Thrash scored 15 points, B.J. Foster added 12 and Abiobun Medupin added a double-double with 10 points and 10 caroms, six offensive.
Houston Baptist, ranked No. 16 in the NAIA Top 25, falls to 11-5 on the season, while the Eagles, ranked No. 3 in the nation, remained perfect on the year, upping their mark to 15-0.
HBU will return to the court on Saturday evening, when it hosts Jarvis Christian College in a Red River Athletic Conference matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm. HBU, the defending three-time champs of the RRAC, are currently 2-0 in conference play.
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