Men Advance to National Semi-Final with OT Win

Men Advance to National Semi-Final with OT Win

The Eagle men rode Aaron Leistikow's 27 point 14 rebound performance Wednesday night to earn an overtime win over Rhema Bible College. Faith will play in the ACCA National Tournament semi-final game on Friday night at 7:30 PM with the win. Faith moves to 23-6 overall on the year. 

The game was back and forth early before the Eagles were able to put together a run to go up 8 at 19-11. Rhema got hot from behind the arc, hitting some tough threes to keep themselves in the game, putting together a 9-2 run to pull within one at 20-21. With three minutes to play in the first half, Rhema made two free throws to take the lead at 35-34, then closed the half with a 6-2 run to take a five point 41-36 lead over the Eagles into the break.

Rhema maintained their lead out of the break for the first couple minutes before Faith was able to put together an 8-0 run to take a one point lead with 14 left in the game. The game went back and forth for the next few minutes, and it was Rhema who was able to make the next run, taking a six point 64-58 run with 8 to play. Faith began applying full court pressure and used that pressure to convert some turnovers into points, re-taking the lead at 68-69 on a Ryan Kupferschmid three with six minutes to play. With three and a half left, Faith held a 5 point lead, but Rhema wouldn't go away, fighting back to tie the game at 76 all with a minute to play. The Eagles missed their offensive opportunity but got a defensive stop, however, they were again unable to convert and Rhema had one more opportunity with 19 seconds to play. The Eagles defense would hold, though as Rhema missed their buzzer beater and the game headed to overtime.

The Eagles dominated the overtime, outscoring Rhema 11-3. Rhema would get all 3 points in the first minute and a half of overtime, but the Eagle defense would hold strong the rest of the game and the Eagles would make enough free throws to pull away for the 87-79 win.

After a first half in which the Eagles gave up 10 offensive rebounds and 11 second chance points to Rhema, the Eagle men kept Rhema without one second chance point in the second half. Faith held Rhema to just 2 second half offensive rebounds, while grabbing 10 of their own which they converted into 13 points. Faith forced Rhema into 11 turnovers, which they converted into 18 points, while the Eagles only turned the ball over 7 times the entire game. Faith did not give up any points off of their turnovers. Faith shot 49% for the game while holding Rhema to 39%. The Eagles also outrebounded Rhema 46-40. 

In addition to Leistikow's 27 and 14, Josh Bray and Jon Luke Talton also finished in double digits for the Eagles. Bray finished with 21 points, while Talton added 15. Talton and Eric Young each had 5 assists on the night. Cody Chaffin just missed a double double for the Eagles, finishing with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

The Eagles will face the winner of Dallas Christian College and AFLBS. Faith's game is scheduled to tip at 7:30pm on Friday at Ozark Christian College.

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