Charlotte, NC – The Johnson & Wales Wildcats (5-21) entered Friday night's contest looking to complete a season sweep of Bob Jones University (4-16). JWU defeated the Bruins 71-57 back on December 1st. The Wildcats controlled the game throughout the first 30 minutes, but a cold shooting stretch in the final 6 minutes ultimately spelled doom for JWU as the Bruins came back for a 69-65 win.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 7-1 lead keyed by a Gath Baily 3 pointer. The Bruins would rally to close the gap on JWU, and even took a few brief leads. The Wildcats would use an 8-0 run spanning two minutes of action to take a 21-14 lead at the 8:49 mark. BJU chipped away at the lead, closing to within 1 point at 27-26 with 2:39 left. A Jay Keller 3 pointer, Mario Irby steal, and Bruin intentional foul resulted in a 7-0 run to give the Wildcats an 8 point lead. Unfortunately, Irby would be injured on the play and would not return to the game. The Wildcats would go into the break with an eight point lead at 36-28.
The JWU lead grew to as much as 10 in the opening moments of the second half, before the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to tie the score at 42 with 16:07 left. Back to back 3 pointers by Jay Keller and an Omar Nuboer bucket put the Wildcats up by four at 50-46 with just over 12 minutes to play. The game became a nip and tuck affair with the two teams trading the lead back and forth. The Wildcats would go back up by 4 points 62-58 at the 5:55 mark. JWU went stone cold for the next five plus minutes as they missed 4 shots and committed 4 turnovers while making only 1 free throw. The Bruins scored 11 straight points to take a 69-63 lead during that stretch. A few last second BJU turnovers gave the Wildcats a couple of chances to get closer, but in the end, the Bruins scored a 69-65 win.
Robbie Sterling and Jay Keller led the Wildcats with 13 points each, while Taylor Thomas added 8. Garth Baily led JWU on the glass with 7 rebounds, while Sterling and Nick Crawford chipped in with 6 more.
The Wildcats are next in action Wednesday night as they host local rival Barber-Scotia at 7:30pm.