Walnut Ridge, Ark. – The Williams Baptist College Eagles put on a late firework display to edge past the Owls from William Woods University, with a score of 74-69, on Tuesday night. The game was played in front of a large crowd in the Southerland-Mabee Center in Walnut Ridge
All looked bleak for the Eagles, as they trailed by eight points with a little over two minutes remaining in the second half. But key three-point baskets by Zabian Sanders and Phillip Sykes got the crowd on its feet and decreased the deficit to two points with 1:15 left on the clock.
After Woods missed on their end, Sykes dribbled up the court and launched another three point basket giving WBC its first lead of the second half at 70-69. After a WWU turnover, Kyle Harvey made two free throws to extend the lead to 72-69 with 15 seconds remaining.
With an enthusiastic crowd on its feet, Zabian Sanders deflected an Owls pass and led a fast break, which resulted in a Chase Norwood two-handed slam. With just a couple ticks left on the clock, the Eagles walked away with the vital American Midwest Conference victory.
"We played with mental toughness down the stretch," said Head Coach Josh Austin, "The players deserve all the credit, Mike (Holder) and I just told them to make plays and that is exactly what they did."
Sanders finished with a game high 24 points, with 17 of them coming in the second half. He made 4 of 6 shots beyond the arc. "We gave Zay a breather mid-way through the second half. We told him to calm down and play his game. When he came back he made the game winning play on defense and hit big buckets. I am real proud of him," said Austin.
Harvey was the only other Eagle in double-figures, with 20 points. He continues to lead the AMC in scoring with 19.36 points per game. That figure ranks 13th in the NAIA.
The win improves Williams' record to 16-9 overall and 7-5 in the AMC. They will travel to Hannibal, Mo., on Thursday, Feb. 14 and play Hannibal-LaGrange University. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
WBC will return home on Saturday, Feb. 16 and host Missouri Baptist University. The game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.