Patriot Defense Paves Way to Win

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It was nearly the tale of two halves for the Dallas Baptist Patriot Basketball Team on Tuesday night in The Burg Center against Abilene Christian. The first twenty minutes against the Wildcats was fast-paced, but low-scoring. The second half saw the Patriots race out to a 19-point advantage – and almost a blowout – but the Wildcats clawed their way back into the game late. If not for a Jordan McGowen block with just over two minutes left in the game that kept the Patriot lead at six, it might have been a different ballgame.

“I thought Jordan was the best guy on the floor tonight,” said Head Coach Blake Flickner. “Everyone contributed – we got great defensive games from TJ (Clark) and Wes (Gipson) shutting down (Kendall) Durant and (Antonio) Bell – but Jordan was a difference maker.” McGowen ended the night with 22 points, 15 rebounds, and a steal but it was his huge block of an Eric Kibi shot from close range that changed the momentum in the game.

With the score 31-28 at the half, the Patriots opened the second half with a 23-8 run in the first eight minutes of the final period. They stretched that lead to 19 a few minutes later and seemingly had control of the game. That lead slowly dissipated, though, as the Wildcats pulled out a 17-4 run of their own to trim the game to six points with four minutes left. That’s where the McGowen block changed the tide as the Patriot defense continued to contest each shot on the ACU end of the floor. “I was really proud of our team defense tonight. That was our best overall team effort of the year and our energy was really good,” said Flickner. The Patriots held ACU to just 37.5% shooting in the first half and 40% overall, including just 6-23 (26.1%) from beyond the arc.

DBU outrebounded the Wildcats 37-30, including a 28-18 advantage on their defensive side of the floor. The Patriots also continued their outstanding shooting from the charity stripe as they converted 22 of their 24 trips to the line. McGowen was the only Patriot in double digits in the rebound category. Clark chipped in 16 points, helped by his 8-8 from the free throw line, Gipson had 11 points and Nick Fox finished with 10.

The Patriots will travel to Durant, Oklahoma on Thursday to face off against Southeast Oklahoma State University at 7:00 pm. That game will be followed by a Saturday matchup in Arkadelphia, Arkansas against Ouachita Baptist at 2:00 pm.