By: Nicholas Robinson, John Brown (Ark.) Sports Information Director
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. — Sophomore Kofi Josephs had a game-high 17 points while junior Max Hopfgartner chipped in with 16, leading No. 14 John Brown (Ark.) (2-0) to a hard-fought 82-67 victory over Crowley's Ridge (Ark.) tonight in the 33rd Annual Toilet Paper Game inside Bill George Arena.
Hopfgartner landed a triple from the left arc just 25 seconds into the game, prompting the crowd of over 2,300 to litter the court with toilet paper, as tradition dictates. The Golden Eagles have now won 12 consecutive home-openers and are 32-1 all-time in Toiler Paper Game contests.
Senior Kurtis Phillips paced JBU on the boards, finishing the game with a team-high six rebounds while dishing out a seven assists. Junior guard Samson Olayemi dished out a game-high nine helpers, prompting the Golden Eagles to 18 assists on 28 field goals.
John Brown carried a 33-30 lead into the half and built a 10-point cushion (47-37) when Josephs hit a three-pointer at the 12:30 mark. Over the next 9:04, the Golden Eagles used a 24-13 run to pull away from the Pioneers (0-1) as Josephs tallied six points during the rally, including two field goals and a conversion at the free throw line.
Although Hopfgartner nailed the trey to open the game, John Brown struggled early from the field for the second-consecutive night, starting out 2-of-8. A 4-of-6 start from the Pioneers prompted an 8-5 advantage for the visitors just 3:05 into the game.
Over the next 7:03, the Golden Eagles would finally find its groove, earning field goals from Olaleymi and senior Gilbert Gyamfi before a Phillips trey evened the game at 16 apiece.
After a Josephs bucket knotted the score at 20-20, the Pioneers would enjoy the lead for only 48 more seconds until freshman Austin Freet cleaned up a three-point attempt by freshman Quinton Smith, dishing it back to Smith for another triple attempt that fell, handing JBU a 24-23 lead.
The final 3:23 of the first half featured a small 9-7 run by the host squad that included a buzzer-beating CRC triple. The Golden Eagles shot 36.7 percent (11-of-30) from the field in the first half while allowing the Pioneers a 45.0 percent (9-of-20) clip. The first stanza featured four ties and eight lead changes.
JBU opened the second half an improved shooting team. Hopfgartner started the scoring at the 18:35 mark and keyed a 14-7 Golden Eagle run over 5:44, fueled by a pair of Joseph triples and baskets from Gyamfi and freshman Zack English. The run produced a 12-point lead for the hosts, 49-37.
The advantage would balloon to 16 twice over the next few minutes. After Olayemi's fast break bucket off a Pioneer turnover at the 4:21 mark, a Freet trey capped off a small 7-4 Golden Eagle rally that produced John Brown's largest lead of the game of 22 points (80-58).
Head coach Clark Sheehy then subbed in a group of five freshman to partake in the game's festivities at the 1:31 mark. CRC capitalized on JBU's group of green players, whittling the score back to 15 (82-67) before the final horn signaled the end of the contest.
JBU finished the evening 9-of-24 (37.5 percent) from long range while taking 12 more field goal attempts than the visitors. John Brown finished with a 42-29 rebounding, including a 19-7 mark on the offensive glass, and forced the Pioneers into 19 turnovers, creating 21 points due to CRC miscues.
Josh Longino paced the Pioneers with 15 points while Skylor Guess pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Crowley's Ridge ended the match shooting 43.8 percent (21-of-48) from the field while the Blue and Gold notched a 46.7 (28-of-60) clip.
The Golden Eagles will return to action on Tuesday (Nov. 5) when it welcomes Ozark Christian (Mo.) to Bill George Arena for an 8:00 p.m. showdown.