The Eagle men opened their 2016-2017 campaign with a 91-72 road win at Union College in Lincoln, NE. A balanced scoring attack led by senior Jon Luke Talton's double double of 31 points and 10 rebounds helped the Eagles jump out to an early lead and hold off a late first half rally by the host.
It was all Faith early on, with the Eagles defenisve pressure holding Union scoreless while building a quick 9-0 lead in the first three minutes. Faith would push that lead to 20-3 six and a half minutes into the game and appeared to be in control. However the fouls would begin to mount as the Eagles were whistled 16 times in the first half. Union took advantage of 22 first half opportunities at the charity stripe during the final 13 minutes of the half, pulling as close as seven points with two minutes left. Faith responded with a 5-1 run over the final two minutes, all five coming from Talton, who capped the run off with a thunderous dunk on a nice assist by Michael Yates to push the Eagle lead to 11 going into the break.
For the first five minutes of the second half Union hung around, pulling within seven early but never threatening. Faith would build the lead, pushing it to 31 with two minutes to play before finishing the game out with the 19 point win as everyone dressed was able to play. "I was really happy with how we started and how we responded to some adversity late in the first half. We were able to maintain our lead and get good bench contribution with all of the fouls that were called," noted coach Fincham.
Talton added four assists, three blocks, and two steals to his 31 points and 10 rebounds. Three other Eagles finished in double digits. Ryan Kupferschmid had 18 points, Josh Bray added 15, and Jason Scheps finished with 10, seven boards, and three steals.
As a team the Eagles shot 53% overall including a blistering 50% from behind the arc. Faith held Union to 32% from the floor and 25% from behind the arc.
Faith will face a strong test this weekend at their only home games of the first semester. The Eagles will be hosting their annual Faith Classic and will face off against NCCAA I Ecclesia College Friday night at 8 PM. Faith will follow that up with a 6 PM tilt against Association Free Lutheran Bible School on Saturday at 6 PM.