TFC traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, on January 12 to face the Bob Jones University Bruins. The Eagles could not hold a second half lead, and fell 61 – 53.
Bob Jones used defensive pressure and precise ball movement to jump to an early 11 – 3 lead over TFC. However, TFC’s Derek Westfall sank a pair of free throws with 11 minutes left in the opening period to cap an 8 – 2 scoring run by TFC, and bring the Eagles within 13 – 11. The teams would trade baskets until Bob Jones used a jumper as the first half expired to increased their lead to 26 – 19.
Back to back lay ups for TFC’s Billy Aristide started the second half and immediately closed BJU’s lead to three points. Josh Johnson’s jumper tied the game at 28 – 28 with 16:08 remaining, and Donavon Smith hit back to back three’s to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 38 – 36. Following Smith’s baskets, the Eagles struggled from the floor and fell behind by as many as 10 points late in the second half. The Eagles were forced to send the Bruins to the free throw line in attempts to lengthen the game, but the Bruins hit the late free throws to seal the Eagles fate, 61 – 53.
Coach Jason Mehl said of his team’s defeat, “The story of our season is that we haven’t been putting together complete games. Against Bob Jones we played solid defense, but couldn’t execute offensively. We turned it over 20 times, many of those were unforced. And we missed half of our free throws. We’re young, but we should be further in our development than we are. It’s my job to turn that around.”
Leading the Eagles in scoring were John Sauls and Carlos Hamlett with 9 points each. Donavan Smith added 8 points and 8 rebounds, but his hustle on the defensive end was just as crucial for the Eagles. Derek Westfall contributed 7 for the Eagles. The Eagles will travel to Montreat College on Jan. 15 and Piedmont International University on Jan. 17 before hosting Piedmont International on January 19 at 3:00