• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Eagles fend off Bearcats for first-ever victory

HISTORIC WIN. The Midway University men’s basketball team celebrated the programs first-ever victory on Saturday, Dec. 3, when the Eagles defeated Brescia University, 79-73. Team members are, front row, from left, Jay’Quise Simpson, Brandon Johnson, and Bryson Harris; second row, Brandon Maxwell, Gerry Milligan, Krizell Mitchell, Tyler Smothers, Khalil Britt, Jake Turner, Jake Logsdon, David Jump, Ausar Lewis, and Dominique Washington; back row, Joe Krupinski (head coach), Jamille Jones, Daniel Hardesty, Marquis Estill (assistant coach), Will Hudson, and Shay Owomoyela.. (Photo courtesy of Midway Univ. Athletics)

It might have taken longer than he and his team expected, but head coach Joe Krupinski and the Midway University men’s basketball team picked up their first-ever victory when they defeated Brescia (Ky.) on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Eagles led by as many as 17 points only to see Brescia come back and take a one-point lead late in the game. But, Midway was able to battle back to secure the 79-73 win. “I am really happy for our team that they finally broke through and came out with a victory,” said Krupinski. “It is always great to get a conference win on the road, but the fact that it is the first-ever men’s basketball win at Midway adds a little something special to it for our team.” The Eagles, who are now 1-10 overall and 1-2 in the River States Conference, had four players score in double figures in the game. They were led by freshman Brandon Maxwell who finished with 18 points. The guard duo of freshman Brandon Johnson and senior Bryson Harris chipped in with 16 points each. Senior Tyler Smothers added 12 points, while freshman Will Hudson provided a spark off the bench with 11 points. Johnson and Smothers helped the Eagles win the rebounding battle, 37-32, by pulling down nine and eight rebounds, respectively. The game didn’t start the way the Eagles were hoping as they faced a 10-1 deficit less than four minutes into the game. Midway was forced to come from behind through most of the first half, but the Eagles were able to close the stanza on a high note. Down 32-25, the Eagles began to battle back and closed the half on a 10-0 run to take a 35-32 lead into the locker room. Hudson hit a three-pointer to give the Eagles their first lead at 33-32, while freshman Krizell Mitchell got a put back layup to end the half. Midway stretched their lead out to eight points to open the second half, but Brescia cut the deficit in half to 46-42. The Eagles, however, answered back with a 17-4 run to extend their lead to it largest of the game, 63-46with nine minutes remaining. The Bearcats were not done and came crawling back to take a one-point lead, 73-72, with just under two minutes remaining. Then, after getting a stop of the defensive end, Harris nailed a trey from the top of the key to give his team the 75-73 lead. That triple by Harris ignited what turned out to be a 7-0 run for the Eagles. Johnson got a put back layup, while Will Hudson capped off the 79-73 win with a breakaway layup. “We showed some resilience throughout the game and, hopefully, our challenging schedule so far has helped us prepare us for more games like this one as we go through the River States Conference,” said Krupinski. The Eagles shot 49.3 percent (33-67) from the field and 37.5 percent (6-16) from long range, while Brescia shot 43.7 percent (31-71) from the floor and 25 percent (5-20) from three. The Eagles are back in action on Saturday, Dec. 10, when they take on Bellarmine (Ky.), a perennial power in the NCAA D-II ranks, in an exhibition at 3:15 p.m. Women’s Basketball The Midway University women’s basketball team returned to the hardwood on Saturday, Dec. 3, when they traveled to Brescia (Ky.) for their fourth game in a span of six days. It was a struggle for both team shooting the ball, as neither team shot 30 percent in the game, but in the end, the Eagles were able to hold off the Bearcats for the 56-53 win. With the win, Midway is now 8-4 overall and 1-1 in the River States Conference. For the game, the Eagles shot just 28 percent (21-75) from the floor, including just 4-of-25 from the three-point line for 16 percent. Fortunately for the Eagles, the Bearcats shot a bit worse from the field where they went 16-of-58 from the floor for 27.6 percent. Brescia did shoot it better from long range, going 9-of-22 (40.9 percent). After an abysmal first quarter for both teams, the Bearcats took an 11-5 edge into the second period. In the second stanza, the Eagles held as much as a five-point advantage, but the Bearcats battled back to tie the game at 25 apiece heading into the locker room at the half. The third quarter was the difference for the Eagles, as they outscored the Bearcats 19-16. The game was tied at 35-35, but the Eagles began to seize control. Junior Courtney Pfister knocked down a mid-range jump shot to ignite what turned into a 9-3 run that led to a 44-38 lead at the end of three. It looked as though Midway was going to run away with it when they led by seven with just under six minutes remaining, but the Bearcats answered with back-to-back three’s to cut the lead to one with 3:58 remaining. The Eagles answered back when freshman guard Haleigh Yazell stepped up and drained a triple to give Midway a four-point lead. Midway pushed the lead back to five, but Brescia responded with four unanswered points to cut the lead back down to one. With 12 seconds left in regulation senior Breanna Ball stepped to the charity stripe and drained a pair of free throws to secure the 56-53 win. Leading the way for the Eagles was senior Jasmine Johnson who finished with 11 points. junior Patrice Tonge and freshman Timitryi Patterson added eight points each. The trio of Patterson, Tonge and junior Rachel Carter led the Eagles to a dominating advantage on the boards. Patterson pulled down a game-high 11, while Carter and Tonge grabbed 10 and eight, respectively. Midway will take a week off from competition, as they don’t play again until Saturday, Dec. 10, when they take on Kentucky Christian on the road. (Information courtesy of Dylan Brown / Midway Univ. Sports Information)

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