Bush Registers Double Double In Triumph Over Royals
DAYTON, Tenn. – Two games are already in the books for the Bryan College Men’s Basketball team and both have been victories following Wednesday night’s 73-67 win against NCCAA opponent Johnson University (Tenn.). The Lions opened the 2017-18 season earlier than any of their Appalachian Athletic Conference counterparts, and did so outlasting the Ambassadors of Oakwood University (Ala.) on Monday 83-78.
Bryan fell behind 36-27 at the half but outscored Johnson 46-31 in the latter period for a come-from-behind win led by Oteriah Lee’s 30 points on 12-of-25 shooting and team-high five assists as well as EJ Bush’s double-double consisting of 16 points and 12 rebounds. Other Lions that aided in the scoring department were Caleb Tuck with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, Terrance Scales with eight points after finishing 3-of-6, and two points apiece by Riley Dempsey and Justin Warner. Scales and Cusick also corralled six boards, respectively, while Lee and Tuck each secured five rebounds. For the game, the Lions 44 percent from the floor compared to the Royal’s 40 percent. Johnson had the edge behind the arc, completing 18-of-40 while Bryan dropped in 10 of their 28 attempts. One area where the Lions struggled was from the foul line, but getting to the line wasn’t any trouble. Bryan took 23 total free throws and made just eight, while Johnson saw 12 foul shots with nine that went for points. The Lions topped the Royals in rebounds 39-34 and in blocks 7-2 thanks to Bush’s shot contesting, giving way to three blocks for the freshman guard from Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Last year in both meetings with Johnson, Bryan learned quickly that they were skilled from deep. The Royals took no time to race out to an 11-3 lead with a trio of three-pointers sank in three and a half minutes. Johnson continued to add onto their lead through the midway point of the opening half, but Lee tried to keep the deficit from growing too large with back-to-back mid-range jumpers, which closed the gap to four points at 18-14. The Royals responded with a 7-0 run, including another swish from downtown, lifting the lead back to double-digits at 25-14. Johnson went on to take control of the game, seeing their largest lead of the night with 3:40 remaining in the first period at 34-17. In hopes to slow the momentum of the Royals, Tuck capitalized with two finishes at the rim, Lee used his speed for a successful layup, and Bush tallied four points with one coming on a second-chance opportunity after rebounding a missed three-pointer and going back up strong for the easy field goal. Their effort dropped the margin to back to single-digits as the Lions trailed the Royals 36-27 at the break.
Even though Johnson scored the first basket of the second half, Bryan kept rolling as they scored nine unanswered points, keeping the Royals without a score for over five minutes. Johnson knocked down a long three-pointer towards the end of the run, but the duo Lee and Bush were unstoppable as Bryan retook the lead 42-41 with 12:34 on the clock. The Royals hoped to throw off the Lions as they countered with seven straight points to go ahead by six points, but Bryan kept their composure as Scales, Lee, Warner, and Bush all found the bottom of the net en route to a four-point lead, 55-51, at the six and a half minute-mark. The Lions stayed out in front despite the Royals relentlessly scoring. Two dagger shots for Bryan occurred with four minutes left in the game when Lee and Cusick both honed in from behind the three-point line. With 1:27 to go, a score by Johnson made it a four-point game at 71-67, but after a myriad of missed shots by the Royals, Lee sealed the deal with two made double bonus free throws to for a final score of 73-67.
The win improved Bryan’s overall record to 2-0 while handing Johnson a loss in their first game of the season.