The Bruins get 36 points from senior Sean Atkins, but cant slow down the high-flying Cavaliers and suffer thier first loss of the young season
Scoring points hasnt been a problem for George Fox four games into the tenure of first-year head coach Maco Hamilton.
In fact, the offensive output in the Bruins 87-66 win over Portland Bible College Nov. 19 stood as their lowest point total after averaging 105 points in beating Redlands and Whittier to open the season.
On most nights, 99 points should be enough for George Fox, but not on Saturday night against NAIA foe Concordia-Portland.
The Bruins simply couldnt slow down the big, talented and athletic Cavaliers, who never succumbed to George Foxs full-court pressure en route to a 108-99 victory at Miller Gym.
I told the guys were not going to face a team with more talent than they have, Hamilton said. Im not big on moral victories, but I think you can always learn something from defeats because theyre magnified. We were right there. We had opportunities. Im not upset because I feel like with a few minor details were right there.
It was the first loss of the season for the Bruins, who trailed the entire game yet never seemed beaten until the final minute.
George Fox (3-1) didnt play poorly in the first half, shooting 48.5 percent from the field, but was cold from long range, hitting two of 10 attempts from beyond the three-point arc.
The Bruins found their range in the second half, going 6-for-11 on three-pointers while shooting a blistering 61.3 percent from the floor.
A lot of that can be contributed to a Herculean effort by senior forward Sean Atkins, who put the team on his shoulders for stretches in the second half, finishing with 36 points. In doing so, he became just the 11th George Fox player to reach that plateau in a single game.
He remained effective even after drawing double and triple teams down low late in the game, hitting 13 of his 20 field goal attempts and draining all nine of his free throws.
Hes crafty, Hamilton said. He has an old mans game. I dont think he passes the eye ball test if you dont see us play a lot. I think teams dont really scheme to guard him. It was obvious on the court they didnt and he scored.
Spencer Bolte and junior transfer Eli Graham (College of the Redwoods) added 18 and 16 points, respectively.
But with Concordia (6-1) slicing its way through the full-court press and using excellent ball movement to create open shots inside, it was the Bruins who struggled to hold on to the ball, turning it over 26 times for the game.
The Cavaliers also used their superior size and excellent athleticism to dominate the boards, outrebounding the home team 43-31 for the game.
Forward Adam Herman was one of five different Concordia players to score in double figures, finishing with 24 points and five rebounds.
The three-point line changes the game so much and it allowed us to go on a run, Hamilton said. We did a great job of getting back, the offense was starting to make shots. We just didnt get stops when we needed to and ultimately that was the thing.
George Fox trailed 51-41 at the break, but closed the gap to four points at 63-59 six minutes into the second half.
The Cavaliers responded to push their lead as high as 14 over the next five minutes before a quick Bruin run, capped by a Bolte triple, cut the lead back to 88-84 with 7:49 to play.
Concordia, however, quickly answered once again and kept the deficit around 10 points the rest of the game.
Were off to a good start, were playing well and that team is good, Hamilton said. There are not going to be teams much better than that. So well be fine on the court as long as we learn from it.
Atkins also led the way in the victory at Portland Bible, earning 25 points, eight rebounds, seven steals and four assists as the Bruins exploded in the second half, propelled by a 17-1 run that made it 66-49 with 9:48 to play. GFU had no trouble salting the game away from there.
Hamilton said he is pleased with the how quickly the team is finding success, but was quick to point elsewhere when it came time to take the credit.
We have some very talented players coming back and Im very fortunate to step into a new job with that, Hamilton said. The second thing is these guys have really picked up our system. Were dictating the way the games are being played, even (Saturday) the game was at a pace we like. In four games, this is the first time that someone has outplayed us in that style.
The Bruins played the third of four straight home contests Tuesday versus Corban (results unavailable at press time) and will next host Northwest Christian at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4.