By Will Houp,
After upsetting No. 17 Indiana East University in the first round of the KIAC tournament, Asbury’s post season run ended on Monday night against Brescia, 71-65.
Against Indiana East, the Eagles ended the first half down 55-40. Behind the inside play of junior Justin Jones and sophomore Dakotah Euton who combined for 48 points and 26 rebounds, Asbury fought back and outscored Indiana East 45-30 in the second to take the game into overtime.
Sophomore Marquel Johnson opened overtime with a 2-point basket, and Jones hitting two free throws. Indiana East hit a three to cut Asbury’s lead to 89-88. But Jones answered with two points, and sophomore Austin Flannery dropped five points on the next three possessions to close the upset at 96-93.
“The game was wild,” Coach Will Shouse said. “[Our players] never quit; they fought to the end, and it was shown.” Jones ended the game with his best offensive performance at Asbury. He scored 22 points on 10 of 15 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds. “That was Jones’ best game of his career,” Shouse said. “I’ve been very proud of his strong development every since he’s got here.”
Euton added 26 points and 11 rebounds; he has averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds the entire month of February. “We feel like the post is where our strength has been,” Shouse said. He also said that if the ball touches the paint with their team’s post players, then it makes it much easier to get the ball outside to their guards.
Sophomore guards Austin Flannery and Johnson scored 22 and 18 points respectively on a combined 50 percent from the 3-point line.
Asbury then faced Brescia for the third time this season. Brescia bested Asbury the other two games, and the Eagles were not able to stop them this time either. The score entering the half was tied at 36. But the free throw line in the second half proved to be the deciding factor. Asbury went to the line 15 times coming away with only two made baskets=. “We shot horrible,” Shouse said. “Even if we shot what I would say is bad at 7-15; we would have won the game. We missed so many when we were down two or tied. [At one point] we missed 10 in a row.” Shouse added that he gas never seen anything point more to the free throw stat, then this game. “[Free throws] are why we lost the game,” he said.
Euton led the Eagles again with 19 points, and Jones was behind him with 17. Johnson was the only other Asbury player to score in double digits with 11. Regular season leading scorer Flannery ended the game with 5 points on 2-10 shooting.
“Even though we lost, we ended on a positive not by winning the first round,” Shouse said. “Hopefully this will carry through the off season.” This was seniors Brock Hurtle and Peter Vogel’s last game with the Eagles. Shouse said that their presence would be missed, but the men’s basketball team’s future is bright. “We started four sophomores and a junior,” Shouse said. “We are very young and very talented group.”