DEMEREST, GA — Overcoming a hot shooting second half by Piedmont College, the East Texas Baptist University men’s basketball team recorded their first win of for head coach Chris Lovell in their first game by defeating the Lions, 78-70.
Charlie Cochran led the way with a double-double scoring 35 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
After Cochran’s 35 points, Chris Haynes finished the day with 14 points and six rebounds while Logan Blow added nine points. Aaron Gregg led in assists with six adding three steals. For PC, Orry Clements-Owens recorded 27 points while Michael Joseph (11 points) and Will Richter (10 points) recorded double-doubles.
Despite being outshot in the second half from the field (48.3%-34.5%), the Tigers won the shooting battles in all three categories in field goal percentage (45.2%-39.3%), three-pointers (36.4%-33.3%), and free-throws (75%-66.7%). They were out rebounded by three (40-37), but managed to pick off 12 steals while holding PC to eight. ETBU also dominated the paint with a 42-24 advantage with 27 second chance points.
After an early exchange of points, which saw PC go up, 5-4, ETBU would change the tenor of the game with a 13-2 explosion (15:32-9:42) with Haynes (10:14-9:42) scoring five points in the run.
PC cut the margin five, 17-12 (8:54), only to watch ETBU burn them with a 10-5 surge (8:54-6:43) with Cochran scoring seven (8:36, 7:36, 6:43) going back up, 27-17. The Lions did manage to put up another rally cutting the margin to 36-30 before Gregg (1:03) and Blow (0:25) brought ETBU’s lead to 10, 40-30, at the break. Cochran finished with 19 points in the first half.
Despite Cochran answering the Pride’s challenge with eight points to start the second half, PC threatened ETBU’s lead when they burst out of the locker room starting with a 16-8 run (20:00-12:52). That run cut ETBU’s lead to two, 48-46, and would remain close. Up by three, 52-49, ETBU scored eight straight points with three’s by Jayden Williams (10:48) and Blow (9:55) while Haynes (9:18) added a jumper for a 60-49 lead. The same story would repeat itself as PC once again would cut into the lead to four, 60-56 (7:22).
ETBU responded with seven straight points as Cochran (7:09) recorded his 29th point of the game to ignite the run for the 11-point lead, 67-56.
The Lions fought back to within four, 71-67, with 1:30 to play but in the end it came down to free throws. ETBU would convert seven free throws on 10 attempts holding off the Piedmont for the 78-70 win.