Heading into Saturday's match up with 2015 MCC Conference tournament host and 2nd seeded Barclay College, the Eagle men knew it would take a combination of disciplined play on both ends of the court and poise throughout the game to come away with the program's first conference tournament championship since 1998. Faith was able to execute that game plan to perfection, combining hot shooting and a solid defensive effort to earn the 99-87 win. Faith is now 21-5 on the year and finishes the year as both the regular and tournament MCCC champions.
The game looked like it was going to be a barn burner early on, with the teams trading baskets and the lead over the first seven minutes. The Eagles made a defensive switch that slowed down the Barclay attack, while the Eagles offense got rolling. With the game tied at 23 apiece, Faith exploded for 17 points in the next three minutes to jump up to a 40-23 lead with 10 minutes gone in the half. Faith had to battle through some foul trouble down the stretch of the first half, and Barclay took advantage to pull back within 13 at 42-55 going into the half.
Faith wasted no time coming out of the break, putting together a 21-8 run over the first seven and a half minutes of the second half. The Eagles would push the lead to as much as 31 over the remainder of the game, and the closest Barclay would get was the final 12 point margin on a three at the buzzer as the Eagles won the tournament championship 99-87.
The Eagles shot an amazing 64% from the floor, including 55% from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense held the home team to 42%, including 40% in the second half. Faith outrebounded Barclay 34-28 and recorded 26 assists on 36 made baskets.
It was once again a balanced scoring attack that led to the Eagles victory, as all five starters posted double digits. A night after Aaron Leistikow came within one rebound of a triple double, it was Jon Luke Talton who nearly recorded his first career triple double, as he finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 9 assists. Ryan Kupferschmid finished out a phenomenal tournament with 25 points, going 6/9 from behind the arc while grabbing 8 rebounds. Josh Bray went an efficient 7/10 from the field to record 20 points and 5 assists. Aaron Leistikow had another well rounded game, scoring 14 points, handing out 6 assists, and grabbing 4 steals. Cody Chaffin rounded out the Eagles scoring with 10 points. Eric Young, John Acree, and Willie Felderman all provided solid minutes for the Eagles as Faith battled some foul trouble throughout the game.
The Eagles now turn their eyes towards the regional tournament next weekend. Faith will face another uphill battle, as they enter as the #3 seed and will have to face #2 seed and host Trinity Bible College in the semifinal contest. That game is scheduled to tip at 8pm on Friday night in Ellendale, ND.