If admission had been charged, the fans in attendance for Tuesday’s KCAC basketball matchups between McPherson College and Oklahoma Wesleyan at the Sport Center would definitely have been worth the price.
Instead, it was “Community Appreciation Night” and the fans got in free.
However, they should have made a donation to the college after this pair of tremendous and wildly entertaining games.
The Mac men, who were in the throes of a seven-game losing streak, pulled out an 85-84 victory over the Eagles on two free throws by Chris Crook with 3 seconds left. The Eagles turned the ball over without getting off a shot and the Bulldogs secured a precious win.
Mac had led 37-29 at the half, but Wesleyan stormed back to lead by as many as eight with 7 minutes remaining.
The Bulldogs didn’t go away, though, as Crook time and again delivered. He finished with 27 points, while Dee Roberts and Ramon Martinez added 17. Grant Raleigh had five assists and Louis Parker III came off the bench to provide energy with 10 rebounds.
“I was pleased to see us fight back and make plays down the stretch,” Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “Chris Crook had a huge 3, then obviously his two free throws at end were clutch. Ryan O'Hara got a loose ball late that was big. Proud of our guys for showing some fight. It was good to get over hump and win a close game.”
The loss spoiled a 31-point onslaught by the Eagles’ Breiman Alexander, including eight 3-pointers.
The Bulldogs, now 2-6 in the KCAC and 4-11 overall, had no time to savor the win as they on a plane today for a trip the California. They play Thursday night at Life Pacific University. Game time is 8 p.m. Kansas time.
Mac (85) — Crook 27, Martinez 17, O’Hara 8, Lakin 4, Roberts 17, Lowe 8, Parker 4.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (84) — Alexander 31, Thomas 11, Feickert 10, Ross 6, Everett 4, Miller 8, Hall 5, Hamilton 4, Schuessler 3, Edwards 2.
• MAC WOMEN 74, OKLAHOMA WESLEYAN 69, OT — The women’s game was just as exciting as the men’s as the Bulldogs moved to 3-5 in the KCAC, a record that could easily be flipped as they had lost earlier home games at the buzzer and with 2 seconds left.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, a nationally ranked team earlier in the season and picked No. 2 in the KCAC in the preseason, could never shake the Bulldogs, who were down in the first half, 31-27.
It was tight all the way. Bailey Brown’s 3-pointer tied the game for Mac to force overtime. There, the Bulldogs took command and a huge 3-pointer by Sunny Smart gave them the lead for good. Ashton Bruner sank a pair of clinching free throws as the Bulldogs are now 4-10 on the season.
It was another monster night for Bruner with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Brown scored 15 and pulled down eight rebounds. Georgia Smart, who didn’t play against Tabor, responded with 14 points and six rebounds. Kristina Battle had one of her best games with 12 points and five assists, while Sunny Smart scored 10.
The Bulldogs locked down on OW standout Susan Ageson, who was held to seven points. Wesleyan, which lives and dies on the 3-pointer, made just 4 of 23.
Mac is home on Thursday for a 5:30 p.m. game against Southwestern Christian. It’s “Cedars Night,” so all residents are admitted free.
Mac (74) — Bruner 19, Brown 15, S. Smart 10, Allen 3, G. Smart 14, Battle 12, Racette 1.
Oklahoma Wesleyan (69) — Morgan 10, Been 10, Ageson 7, Backward 4, Hernandez 1, Gitau 10, Robinson 9, Dyer 8, Kirby 6, Martin 2, McNespey 2.