Needing a win to keep pace at the top of the Golden State Athletic Conference standings the newly minted No. 4 Biola Men's Basketball team did just enough to ensure they would get one as they hosted the Vanguard Lions on Tuesday night.
The Eagles clamped down defensively throughout the first half and through much of the second half to build a commanding 51-29 lead with less than 10 minutes left to play. The Lions began to get a few more open looks at the hoop as time dwindled down, ultimately scoring 39 points in the final nine and change, but Biola still walked off with a 75-68 victory.
The intensity of the contest was at its highest right when the game began as the first points were scored nearly two minutes in on an impressive layup from Dakari Archer as he worked around and through three Vanguard defenders to find his way to the hoop.
Plays similar to that, where Biola was able to drive the line early and often, happened a lot early on in the game and were a big reason why the team was able to build such a substantial lead.
The Eagles scored 30 of their 75 points in the painted area and even got two dunks from big man Steve Herve. The Eagles also got six fast break points, which is high for a team that is so accustomed to settling into a half-court offense and moving the ball ad nauseam on every possession.
The final few minutes of the game were a little hard to watch as fouls and turnovers piled up and the focus was not as sharp as it had been for the first 32 minutes or so. One player was fouled out and the Eagles had six second half turnovers. Pair that with the fact that the Vanguard team shot 44 percent in the final 20 minutes, compared to 32 percent in the first, and it made for a game that looked a whole lot closer on the scoreboard than it ever felt in the gym.
Dakari Archer ended the game as the team's highest scorer. He was almost perfect from the field on a night when he put up a relatively quiet 22 points, at least as quiet as a 20+ point performance can possibly be. He was 8-of-8 from the line as the Eagles shot around the season average on free throws (72 percent over all).
Trevor Treinen (17), Jeff Gonzalez (10) and Caelan Tiongson (11) also hit double figures this evening as the Eagles won the 100th meeting all-time between these two sides. The win pushes Biola to a 62-38 advantage in all its matchups with the Lions.
Archer's 22 point output brought his total to seven 20+ performances this season and the 32nd of his career.
Biola's win pushes them to 25-3 (11-3 GSAC) and helped them move back into a half-game advantage in the conference standings. No. 10 Hope International lost at Arizona Christian this evening to give them also three conference losses with one fewer game played than BU. The two teams meet in Fullerton this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in a game that will most likely determine the regular season GSAC Champion.