Men’s basketball loses in NAIA quarterfinals
The Biola men’s basketball season came to an end with a 67-56 loss to No. 2 Oklahoma Baptist University in the quarterfinals of the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday, March 17.
The Eagles’ lone senior, guard and forward Davey Hopkins led the team with 18 points and seven rebounds in his final game as a college athlete. Junior guard Given Kalipinde scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while sophomore Zack Zaragoza scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds off the bench. Biola ended the season with a 27-9 record.
Slow start dooms Eagles in quarterfinal loss
The Eagles got off to an extremely slow start and fell behind by 13 midway through the first half. Team captains Hopkins and junior forward Andre Murillo felt that the game they played against Our Lady of the Lake University the night before contributed to the sluggishness.
“It was a tough matchup for us. … I definitely think it took a toll,” said Hopkins, who had a career high of 31 points in the overtime victory over Our Lady.
Biola shot their second-lowest field goal percentage of the season at 26 percent and entered halftime behind, 33-19.
“I was believing the whole time that we could still come back. … I thought we could pull it off,” Murillo said.
Biola mounts a near-comeback, but season ends despite strong effort
The Eagles spent the entire second half clawing at the lead. Three minutes into the half, they cut the deficit to 10 on a three-point play by Hopkins; however, Oklahoma Baptist responded with a 15-4 run over the next three minutes to take the largest lead of the game at 51-30. Biola was not ready to give up and answered with an impressive 21-5 run over the following eight minutes, to come within five at 56-51. The run was capped off by a second-chance basket by Hopkins with three minutes left. However, that was the closest the Eagles would get.
Oklahoma Baptist’s Emmanuel Wilson, the Sooner Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Year, led all scorers with 20 points.
The Eagles shot just 34 percent for the game, while the Oklahoma Baptist Bisons shot 42 percent. Biola finished the season winning 15 of their last 17 games.
“It felt good to finish off the year like that,” Murillo said. “Definitely hats off to all my teammates and the work that they put in.”
Murillo was quick to look at the blessings that he has received this season.
“I’m really thankful. I praise God for a great year. It’s an awesome privilege to play this game,” Murillo said.
The future looks bright for the men’s basketball team, losing only one senior in Hopkins to graduation.