Playing in his final home game of his illustrious MACU career and his first since joining the 2,000 career point club, senior guard Charlie Shorter saved his best for last with a career-high 42 points, but it wasn't enough as the Mid-America Christian University Evangels fell 89-80 to the No. 3-ranked and regular season Sooner Athletic Conference champion John Brown University Golden Eagles in front of a boisterous crowd Thursday night (Feb. 21) inside the Gaulke Activity Center.
The loss bumps the Evangels into a three-way tie for the third spot in the SAC with Rogers State University and USAO, each with identical 8-7 conference records.
The Golden Eagles appeared to have put the game away by streaking out in the second half with an 8-1 push for a double-digit lead and then extending the edge to as high as 15 at the 10:07 mark of the second half.
It remained a 14-point deficit when Shorter nearly single-handily brought the Evangels back by scoring the team's next 13 points to trim the lead to just six at 81-75 with 1:12 left.
Josh Young then picked it up with a jumper and a three to twice make it a five-point game, with the last at 85-80 with 35 seconds left.
But the Evangels couldn't score again and Kofi Josephs twice split a pair at the foul line and Abel Galliguez hit two freebies to put the game away.
The Evangels (13-11, 8-7 SAC) grabbed the early lead and led for much of the first half as Shorter scored five quick points for a 9-3 lead.
A layup by Shorter again extended the lead to six at 23-17 when the Golden Eagles scored seven straight to take their first lead since the opening minute of the game.
Shorter answered with a three to put the Evangels back on top, but four free throws by EJ McWoods and a score from D'Shon Taylor gave JBU a four-point edge.
Treys by Shorter and Angelo Lewis tied it twice at 30-30 and 33-33 before the Golden Eagles jumped back on top and a putback dunk by Taylor at the buzzer gave JBU a 39-36 lead at the break.
Shorter, the reigning SAC Player of the Week, shot 13-of-29 overall from the field, 7-of-12 from beyond the arc and 9-of-12 at the charity stripe for his 42 points. He also had seven rebounds and three assists. Lewis recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 boards. Senior guard Camilo Valencia also played for the final time in front of the home crowd and finished with seven points and a team-high five assists.
Josephs led four Golden Eagles in double-figures with 22 points and Galliguez added 20.
The Evangels were out-shot 59.6 percent (31-of-52) to 39.2 percent (29-of-74) from the field, but hung in thanks to a 43-32 rebounding edge, including a whopping 24-7 advantage on the offensive glass.
The Evangels will conclude regular season action at St. Gregory's University Saturday afternoon (Feb. 23) at 8 p.m. in Shawnee.