WINFIELD — College basketball’s new rules and an amazing spin move by Ashton Bruner ended McPherson College’s long women’s basketball losing streak to Southwestern College on Thursday.
After a Kenzi Taylor free throw gave the Moundbuilders a 58-57 lead with 3.9 seconds left in the game, the new rules allow for the opposing team to take possession of the ball at midcourt after a timeout. The Bulldogs whipped the ball to Bruner, who raced to the basket, then pivoted left and kissed the ball off the glass with 0.4 left to give the Bulldogs a pulsating 59-58 victory.
That set off a mad scramble to the record books and the result was that it was Mac’s first win over Southwestern after 19 straight losses.
“That’s one of those instances where that new rule helped us win this game, there’s no doubt about it,” said Mac coach Gordon Reimer, whose team is now in a five-way tie for first place in the KCAC and is 2-5 overall. “If we had to go the full court in 3.9 seconds it probably would have been some type of halfcourt shot. There, we were able to set up a play and they ran what we wanted them to and Ashton finished it.”
Neither team ever led by more than six points. The Bulldogs were up 30-28 at the half and the Moundbuilders came back to lead 45-44 going into the fourth quarter. An Amanda Allen 3-pointer put Mac up 55-51 with 5:46 to go, but Southwestern charged back to take a 57-55 lead with its final field goal with 3:13 left as the Mac defense permitted only the Taylor free throw the rest of the way.
Allen came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs with 14 points, Georgia Smart added 13 and Bailey Brown scored 10. Reimer received lots of contributions from different players as the team is so much deeper than last year.
Taylor Bleumer led Southwestern with 16 points and Jana Reichenberger had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Moundbuilders were hampered by the loss of leading scorer Jordyn Miller, who went down just 5 minutes into the game with an ankle injury and was in a walking boot after the game.
The Bulldogs did a great job of defending Southwestern’s 3-point shooters, as the Builders — annually the KCAC’s most-potent 3-point team — could sink just 3 of 23. Southwestern lost despite dominating the glass, 46-35.
Mac stays on the road on Saturday to play at Bethel, with game time 5 p.m. in North Newton.
Mac (59) — Bruner 7, G. Smart 13, Brown 10, McClellan 4, Battle 2, Racette 2, Kelly 4, Acklin 3, Allen 14.
Southwestern (58) — Taylor 1, Reichenberger 12, Miller 4, Cranmer 7, Henderson 6, Bleumer 16, Demel 6, Lovell 6.
• SOUTHWESTERN MEN 96, MAC 84 — Southwestern’s Chris Waller put on one of the greatest performances ever by a Bulldog opponent.
The senior lefty with some incredible hops poured in 41 points, 27 of those in an unstoppable second half, as the Builders broke open a close game late.
Waller was 16 of 26 from the field and 7 of 9 from the line. Even though he’s a 6-1 guard, he just missed a double-double with nine rebounds as the Bulldogs again gave up a deficit in that area, 42-32.
“Chris Waller is averaging 22 a game and obviously tonight he went off,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 2-4 overall. “We struggled to stop him.”
Cameron Clark, the other half of the Builders’ dynamic 1-2 punch, scored 17 points, 11 under his average. But he yanked down 10 rebounds.
“On the rebounding, it is disappointing we got out-rebounded by 10, but if you look at the stats, part of it is they didn’t miss many shots,” Swartzendruber said. “They had only 10 offensive rebounds. That’s what’s been killing us. They had more defensive rebounds because we missed more shots.”
Southwestern, which may have as talented of a starting five as there is in the conference and needs only to develop a bench, was 33 of 63, 19 of 36 in the second half, and went 11 of 22 from 3-point. The Bulldogs were just 28 of 69, 9 of 23 from 3.
Reserves Dee Roberts and Chris Lowe had nice games for the Bulldogs with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Starters Ryan O’Hara (17) and Chris Crook (14) also were in double figures. The Mac bench accounted for 39 points to make up for two starters being held scoreless.
Mac stays on the road Saturday to play Bethel, which hung tough for a while with Oklahoma Wesleyan on Thursday before losing, 98-81. Game time in North Newton is 7 p.m.
Mac (84) — O’Hara 17, Rowell 6, Crook 14, Lowe 17, Bachura 4, Roberts 18, Parker 8.
Southwestern (96) — Clark 17, Monroe 3, Waller 41, Fisher 3, Hunt 8, Ayers 7, Wallace 4, Palmer 3, Surrell 3, Lipsey 7.