McPherson College’s basketball teams open KCAC play on Thursday in the oldest facility West of the Mississippi.
The Bulldog teams travel to Winfield, where they’ll take on Southwestern College at venerable Stewart Field House, which was built in 1924 but has been spruced up repeatedly in recent years.
Game time is 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men, with both games to be aired on KBBE-FM. Chris Swick will have the play-by-play call.
The women’s game matches two teams that have played difficult schedules and have combined for just two wins. The Bulldogs are now 1-5 after losing 88-63 to St. Gregory’s on Monday, a stunning score when you consider Mac was up 39-27 at halftime.
Southwestern, which lost earlier to St. Gregory’s 81-74 and was blistered by Haskell 84-55 (Mac lost to the Indians 81-59), is 1-4 under interim head coach Whitney Corley. She took over when Dave Denly was named the head coach at Bellevue University in Nebraska, which is starting a program that begins competition next year.
"They want to run a halfcourt game going inside," Mac coach Gordon Reimer said. "Their top two scorers are both posts. Their guards are tall and will post you up also."
Southwestern has been one of the KCAC’s flagship programs over the past 20 years, including a 22-10 record last year. But six key players graduated and the Builders have had a hard time scoring points.
Scoring points hasn’t been a problem for the Southwestern men, who have eclipsed the century mark in three of their five wins in rolling to a 5-1 record. The only loss came to College of the Ozarks in which they scored a season-low of 77 points. On Friday, the Moundbuilders took on NCAA Division II power Drury in an exhibition game, losing only 83-79.
“Southwestern features one of the best players in the conference in Cameron Clark,” Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “They average over 100 points a game and have been tremendous on the offensive glass. Clark and Chris Waller are doing most of their scoring, so controlling those two will be a key for us.”
Clark recently had a 42-point game and is averaging 28, while Waller averages 22. As a team, Southwestern has piled up a staggering 106 points a game. It recently defeated Manhattan Christian 107-98 in overtime, a team, the Bulldogs defeated 95-63.
The Bulldogs, after starting 2-0, have lost three in a row.
“The biggest thing for us right now is to get some confidence back,” Swartzendruber said. “We didn't shoot the ball well last week and we have good shooters. I am pleased how we have progressed defensively, but in basketball you have to score.”