The Eagles hosted Emmaus Bible College (Dubuque, IA) Monday night in an effort to rebound from their disappointing loss last Friday against CCCB. In the last meeting between the two teams in November, Faith came out on top with a 88-79 victory. Faith was hoping for the same winning result against their in-state conference opponent. The Faith Eagles were able to mount a comeback in the second half to push the game to overtime and eventually pull ahead for the 100-95 win.
What was expected to be a close battle throughout lived up to its expectations. Emmaus and Faith exchanged possessions of the lead through the first nine minutes of play; but with eleven minutes to go in the half, Emmaus took off on a 13-2 run to take a 29-19 advantage. Faith would cut the deficit to just two before the Emmaus Eagles put together another run to extend their lead back up to ten. Emmaus's Matthew Tomlinson played a big part in giving Emmaus their first half advantage by scoring 16 of his 18 points in the half, including shooting 4-7 from three. Led by Tomlinson, Emmaus entered halftime in control with a 47-39 lead.
Emmaus started the second half on another 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, 55-41; but the Faith Eagles had an answer this time, as they went on an 11-0 run of their own to pull to within three of Emmaus. Despite Faith's attempts to take over the lead, Emmaus held their own and never let Faith gain control until the 8:39 mark on a made bucket by Jon Luke Talton, which gave Faith a 69-67 lead. Talton put the Eagles on his back in the second half, leading the comeback with 19 points and 6 rebounds in the half.
The game stayed neck-and-neck and looked as though it was going to be decided by whoever had the ball last. With 46 seconds to go, the score was tied at 87-87. Faith had possession, but was unable to convert on their offensive play, giving Emmaus the opportunity for the last shot. Faith played lock-down defense and forced Emmaus into a turnover, giving them back the ball with four seconds left. Faith dribbled the ball the length of the floor but resulted in a turnover instead of a shot, sending the game to overtime.
Faith held all the momentum going into overtime and started out on a 6-0 run. The Faith Eagles controlled the game 98-95 with just under a minute to go. Despite having three opportunities to score on their offensive end, Emmaus couldn't knock down a shot, forcing them to foul; but two missed free throws by Faith gave Emmaus one more chance to tie the game. Again, Emmaus's shot wouldn't fall, but Faith wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Tanner Van Beek put in both free throws, the Eagles went on to win 100-95 over Emmaus. The big win improved Faith's overall record to 9-5 and gave them a 4-3 record in the conference.
While Faith dominated inside, scoring 66 points in the paint, Emmaus relied on the three ball, where they scored 39 of their points. The Eagles showed some improvement at the free throw line shooting 52 percent, 15-29, but still struggled, especially late when the game was close. Jon Luke Talton led the highly-offensive game for Faith with his double-double of 31 points and 16 rebounds. Teammates Jason Scheps and Ryan Kupferschmid had 17 and 16 points respectively. Tanner Van Beek was shifted into the starting lineup this game and secured 14 points and 7 rebounds in his first start. Willie Felderman came off the bench to give the Eagles 13 points and 8 rebounds.
The Eagles will travel to Minneapolis, MN on Tuesday, January 31, for rescheduled game with North Central University at 6:30 PM.