Following Friday night's win against Calvary University, Faith hoped to carry the momentum with them to Joplin, MO on Saturday where they faced off with conference opponent Ozark Christian College. The Eagles were unable to capitalize on opportunities at the free throw line, allowing Ozark to keep it a one possession game coming down to the wire. Ozark took over the lead in the last 30 seconds and handed Faith a disappointing 75-78 loss.
The Eagles came out ready to play, starting off the game up 6-0, before Ozark's offense responded. At the halfway point of the half, Faith was up 18-10, what would be the largest lead they would have in the game. Consecutive threes started what ended up as a 10-2 run for the Ambassadors to give them their first lead late in the half. The Eagles contained Ozark's run by answering with shots of their own and entered the halftime break holding a 38-37 lead over the Ambassadors.
The second half started out as quick-paced and back-and-forth as the first. With 14:00 left, the Eagles found themselves up five on the Ambassadors; but it was at that point that the Eagles began to struggle to keep up with Ozark's quick transition offense. Meanwhile, the Ambassadors continued to sub in fresh legs to keep pushing the pace. Rotating in rested players would prove to be an advantage for Ozark, as 41 of their total points came from players off the bench.
At that 14:00 mark, the Ambassadors would then piece together a 16-2 run to go up 65-56 over the Eagles. Faith answered this run with a 10-2 run of their own to even the game out at 71-71 with three minutes to go. Unfortunately, the Eagles hurt themselves by not converting on free throw opportunities. Faith shot 6-17, just 35 percent, from the free throw line for the game. Despite their free throw struggles, the Eagles still held the 75-73 lead with 36 seconds left; but Ozark's Andrew Mayes hit a bigtime three point shot, giving them the one point lead and forcing Faith to foul. Ozark would go on to make both free throws and just edge the Eagles, 78-75.
The Eagles again relied heavily on Ryan Kupferschmid's three point shooting for the game. Kupferschmid ended with 18 points, all coming from the three. Jason Scheps had 15 points and 9 rebounds, and Jon Luke Talton added 14 points and 8 rebounds of his own. Tanner Van Beek showed effort off the bench and totaled 11 points for the game.
Faith will return to the court on Tuesday, January 24, when they travel to Minneapolis, MN to go up against North Central University at 6:30 PM.