Mens Basketball

Champion MBB Go 1-1 On The Weekend

Hot Springs, Ark.

In their first test of competition in the 2021-2022 season, the Tigers couldn’t maintain their early success as they fell apart late. After a slow start that saw the Ecclesia Royals take an early 18-5 lead, the Tigers were able to claw their way back into the game behind some big plays from AJ Williams and some timely 3 point shots from Zo Capaci. After a fast paced back and forth affair, the Tigers took a one point lead going into the half. Defensively, the Tigers were able to hold the Royals to 35% shooting from the field in the first half.

To start the second half, the game was a back and forth battle. Champion struggled all night to beat the tough zone defense from the Royals, but were able to stay step in step and weather the storm any time the Royals went on a run. With 11 minutes left in the game, Braylon Hawkins made two free throws to pull Champion within 6 points. After that, Ecclesia College would go on an absolute tear, shooting 10/19 for 3 and ended up scoring 60 points in the second half, scoring too much for the Champion Christian College Tigers to keep up with. The Tigers fall 94-72.

Some notable performances from the game:

AJ Williams -12 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

Braylon Hawkins - 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists

Zo Capaci - 9 points, 3 rebounds, 3 made 3's

Keyshaun Scott - 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks


The Tigers had a great chance to bounce back, as part of the Champion Classic they were scheduled to play the next day at 7 pm against Campbellsville University - Harrodsburg Pioneers, a NCCAA D2 team from Kentucky. The Pioneers would be a tough task, finishing 12-11 and seen by many as a top team in the NCCAA.

The first 7 minutes of the game Campbellsville showed why they are picked as one of the top teams at this level, jumping out to a 13-0 lead. The tigers could not seem to get the ball to go in the basket, and were plagued by turnovers early. Eventually Champion was able to find their groove, and much like the night before the Tigers fought their way back into the game, this time by some big plays from AJ Jenkins and hustle from Braylon Hawkins. Going into the half, the Tigers had cut the lead all the way down to 2, trailing 32-29.

The second half did not see any team take a commanding lead, as both teams battled back and forth. After a 6-0 run by Pioneers to go up by 4, two timely 3’s, one from AJ Jenkins and the next by AJ Williams, put the Tigers up by 2 with a few minutes left. As time ran down, the Tigers remained in the lead behind stellar defense at the rim by the freshman Malik Laurent and Keyshaun Scott, but left the door open for the Pioneers, shooting 10-22 from the free throw line in the second half. 

With 3.9 seconds left on the clock and the Tigers up by 1 after missed free throws, the Pioneers had one more chance to win the game, but failed to do so, missing the buzzer beater. 

Champion finished the game shooting 40% from the field, 34% from 3, and 54% from the charity stripe.

Some notable performances from the game:

AJ Williams 25 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 8-20 FG and 5-12 3P

Braylon Hawkins 20 points, 10 rebounds, 7-15 FG

AJ Jenkins 17 points, 6-10 FG, 4-4 3P

Malik Laurent 7 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks


Up Next for the Champion Tigers: at Williams Baptist University, November 4th.