Both Bruins teams come close to beating Pensacola Christian College at Jan. 28 games 

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Nathaniel Hendry

The teams will meet for a rematch on Feb. 4 in Pensacola, Florida. Photo: Nathaniel Hendry

The Bruins men’s and women’s basketball teams took on the Eagles, their friendly rivals from Pensacola Christian College, on Jan. 28. but narrowly lost in both games. The Bruins-Eagles games, consistently the Bruins’ most well-attended games, drew over 1,200 attendees. 

The women’s game began at 5 p.m., with PCC winning the tip-off, putting points on the scoreboard and running a half court and full court press. Although it took a few minutes to match PCC’s defensive game, the Bruins rallied as they made repeated three pointers and lay-ups.  

By the half, the Bruins led by ten points.  

The Bruins received the ball in the second half and consistently shot from the three-point line and dished it inside for lay-ups. Pensacola countered these plays by making steals and several lay-ups as well as defensive stops.  

Either because of exhaustion or discouragement, the Bruins fell behind trying to match the points made by Pensacola.  

At the final buzzer, PCC triumphed over the Bruins, 63-60.  

The men’s game began at 7 p.m., the stands filled with spectators eagerly awaiting the second part of the epic showdown.  

PCC won the tip-off and made repeated lay-ups and mid-range shots. The men’s team rallied defensively and made several stops and scored several field goals, eventually overcoming Pensacola and leading by four points near the end of the first half.  

As the second half started, the Bruins lagged on the scoreboard, and much like the women’s team, they tried to come back from their deficit. They made several key shots but could not retake the lead and lost 56-64.  

Even though both teams lost, several plays during the games raised the fans’ spirits. In the women’s game, Ashley Phelan made a layup on a foul and sank the following free throw. Catherine Skebo scored a clutch three pointer close to the end of the first half. The men’s game showcased Trevor Brunson dishing off a behind the back pass to Stephan Hugley, who made a baseline three pointer in the first half. Henry Blair blocked a layup, sending the ball out of bounds.  

Tony Miller, interim coach for the men’s team, and assistant coaches Keith Champion and John Clay said that the men’s team usually dominates in games against PCC. Although the women’s teams are almost even, homecourt advantage and a calm gameplay would supposedly carry them through. Even though both teams lost, they were both close games. 

Rivalry between these two teams can be seen on the court but originated off the court. According to Keith Champion, both universities are the largest in the National Christian College Athletic Assocation and attract similar students. Students from both universities also meet while working at summer camps, such as The Wilds. These connections create a rivalry between the students which is seen on the court and supported by the fans in the stands. 

In preparation for the game, Coach Miller had said, “They [Pensacola] have really good guard play. It’s always the threat of three-point attempts.” His team focused on trying to shut down these long-range shots. Coach LeViere, head coach for the women’s team, said that they were going to play Pensacola like any other team by working on team goals, such as getting a higher percentage of rebounds than the other team. “Success for us is our performance based on ourselves, not the opponent.” 

The BJU Bruins teams will both play the PCC Eagles teams again in Pensacola on Feb. 4.