Marquis Duncanson scored a game-high 24 points, and the TBC Eagles advanced to to the championship game of the 2018 Bible College National Invitational Tournament with a thrilling 71-68 win over the Suns from Johnson University of Florida Friday night.

Duncanson had 10 points in the first half and 14 in the second. He sank four crucial free throws down the stretch to keep the Eagles ahead by a slim margin. He also buried two three-point shots earlier in the half, stole two Johnson possessions, and assisted three Trinity scores.

Chandler Rivers scored 15 points on six field goals and 3-for-4 shooting from the line. Overall, the Eagles converted 12 free throws and 41% of their shots from the field.

Johnson scored the game’s first seven points and then hit a 9-0 run after the Eagles surged back with a 9-2 run of their own to tie the score at 16. After falling behind 25-16 with 5:41 left on the clock, the Eagles outscored Johnson 21-12 for the remainder of the half thanks in large part to Ethan Payne, who scored four points in the final 1:30 before the buzzer.

The teams went into the locker rooms tied at 37.

Payne finished with 12 points, 11 of them in the first half. He was 4 for 6 from the line overall.

The second half was back-and-forth the entire way as the teams traded leads multiple times. The biggest second-half lead for either team was four. Duncanson, Marquel Perry, Marcus Dixon, and Jykayle Walker combined for 33 of the Eagles’ 34 second-half points.

Perry finished with eight points while Walker had five and Dixon scored four. Zack Norris hit a three-pointer in the first half, which proved itself the margin of victory. Dixon also led the court with 10 rebounds.

For Johnson, Phil LeGrier led his team with 16 points. He hit all three of his three-point shots, 4 of 6 overall from the field, and five free throws. Jaymeke Smith scored 12 points, and Jon Baker had 10. Johnson hit 6 of 15 threes and 16 of 22 free throws (11 of 16 in the second half) to keep the game tight. Three players had eight points each, and two more contributed points in the effort.

Johnson shot a very impressive 46% from the field.

The Eagles will play for the Bible College NIT championship Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. EST. Trinity will play Mid-Atlantic Christian University, who defeated Dayspring Bible College 75-55 Thursday and Trinity College of Florida 70-64 in overtime in another exciting seesaw affair.

–Raymond Bureau, TBC