Jykayle Walker scored 14 points in his college debut, and Chandler Rivers had 10 in his first college game as the Trinity Baptist College Eagles men’s basketball team tipped off the 2017-2018 season with fellow NCCAA competitor Columbia International University. Trinity jumped out to an early lead, but the CIU Rams rallied in the second half and won 75-63.

Trinity scored first and quickly built a 12-2 lead and maintained most of that margin throughout the first half. The Eagles shot 46.4% from the field in the first half while holding CIU to 34.5%. After forging the early advantage, the Eagles played steady defense and took a 29-22 lead into halftime.

Columbia, though, went on a prolonged run early in the second half and took its first lead of the game at 41-40. A back-and-forth stretch followed until the Rams hit 15 of 23 free-throws in the latter portions to pull away.

Trinity shot 48.3% from the field in the second half and pulled close in the game’s final minutes. However, the Eagles had some trouble at the line early in the game, and that allowed Columbia to stay close before making their second-half run. Trinity’s Rivers had a slam dunk late in the game that ignited the crowd and the Eagles, but Columbia held on for the win.

Marcus Dixon was second on the Eagles with 13 points. Zack Norris scored nine while Marquel Perry, Andrew Bowman, and Marquis Duncanson each had five. Freshman Kaleb Botts contributed a three-point shot in his first college game.

For Columbia, Kameron Robinson led all scorers with 19 points –14 in the second half coming off two three-pointers, two more field goals, and 4-for-4 shooting at the line. Tyrone Dantzler followed with 15 points — 13 in the second half. Jordan Dillingham scored 11 of his 14 in the second half, and Damian Hurta also hit double digits with his 10 points — eight in the second half. The Rams shot 53.1% after halftime.

The Eagles will next play on Friday night, November 3, in the first game of the Eagles’ Tip-Off Classic. Trinity will play a brand new team from the NCAU’s Blue Lights College (Apex, North Carolina) in the school’s first-ever men’s basketball game, which will tip off at 7:30 p.m EDT. Trinity will then play Georgia Northwestern Technical Institute on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. before heading to Ave Maria University on Saturday, November 11.

–Raymond Bureau, TBC