FULLERTON, Calif. --- It looked bleak. It looked bad. It looked ugly. However, in the end it was oh-so sweet as Biola took it to No. 14 Hope International in a 72-69 comeback win in Golden State Athletic Conference play on Tuesday night.
The Eagles trailed by 13 points at halftime, after the Royals shot 51 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes. The entire game turned on its head in the second half, as the Eagles gradually pushed their foot on the gas pedal to turn the deficit into a three-point lead.
The win turns Biola into a winning team in GSAC play, as the Eagles improve to 6-5 in conference following their second consecutive win over a top-15 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics team.
The second half saw a big turnaround from Biola's shooters, but it also saw a large regression from Hope International's team. The Eagles shooting percentage increased by six percent, and they shot 15 percent better from beyond the arc. The Royals went the other direction, as their shooting percentage slid all the way down to 27 percent, and they failed to make a single three-point shot.
Out of the gate, it was clear to see that there was something different between the two teams in the second frame. Biola slowly chipped away at the Royals' advantage, but were not clearly back into the game until a Chelsea Hill layup with fewer than nine minutes to play put them behind by just six points.
That play was a part of a long 21-7 run that spanned from the 15-minute mark until there was just under five minutes left to play. It was that run that gave Biola its first lead since the game was 3-2. The run was capped by an Adijat Adams three-pointer that made the game 61-60.
Adams was a key part of the Eagles' attempts through the final five minutes as they battled to hold onto the lead they had garnered. She used a putback basket with just under a minute to play to give Biola the two-point lead that likely made it possible for the Eagles to hold on. She was also the one to score the final two points of the game on two free throws to give Biola its final 72-69 lead with just under four seconds to play.
Adams tied with HIU's Brittany Bauman to lead all players with 22 points, including three off just her fourth made three-pointer of the season. She was closely followed by Hill, who had another strong game with 20 points, eight rebounds and five dimes.
Aubree Mittel was the only other Eagle to reach double-digits, with 12. She also grabbed a key offensive rebound and made a free throw in the final seconds to prove instrumental to this upset special.
With the win, Biola holds strong in fifth place in the conference, but moves just one game out of a tie for third place. No. 10 Westmont and No.14 HIU currently occupy that spot, and both are 7-4 in GSAC play.
The Eagles have now won three straight, and five of their last six. They look to keep the hot streak alive as they travel to CU Arena on Saturday for a showdown with Concordia (3-8 GSAC).