Walnut Ridge, Ark. - The Eagles of Williams Baptist College fell to the fourth ranked Lions of Freed-Hardeman University in the semifinals of the American Midwest Conference Tournament by a final of 74-66. The game was played Saturday afternoon in Henderson, Tenn.
Williams came rushing out of the gates in the first half, shooting 54 percent. James McClain (SR/Covington, Tenn. ) led the charge, tallying 18 points without missing a shot from the field in the first frame. This gave the team a 37-33 lead at halftime.
FHU fought back in the second half, making 12-of-24 shots to erase the deficit and win the game by the eight-point margin. The victory advances the Lions to the AMC championship.
Eagles Head Coach Josh Austin had nothing but praise for his team after the tough loss. "If there are words for this team, then I don't have them. I have never had a team like this one. Their attitude on and off the floor speaks volumes about their character. The easiest thing for a coach is to organize a practice, see a defensive adjustment and preach to win today. The hard part is getting a team to buy in to all of that. That's what this team did," noted Austin.
McClain led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor. The senior averaged a team-high 16.75 points per game in his senior season.
Demoine Brown (SO/Luxora, Ark.) was the only other Eagle in double figures. The guard added 12 points off the bench. The contest was also the final game for senior Carter Clerveaux (SR/Brooklyn, N.Y.). Clerveaux had six points in the game and averaged over eight points per contest in a starting role for the team.
Williams finished the year with an 18-10 record and a 16-6 record in the AMC. The 16 conference wins are a school record. WBC has also reached the AMC semifinals two of the last three seasons.
"This season was based on individuals that played for the man next to him, not the wins," added Austin. "This team loves to win, but that was not the most important thing. They decided that playing for each other was more important and the scoreboard would settle itself out. I love these guys. They represented me, their families and this school extremely well."
This is the third consecutive season the Eagles have posted a winning record, and the 18 wins are tied for the third highest win total in program history.