Mac cagers at home Wednesday against Bethel

By Steve Sell
January 19, 2016

It’s the KCAC’s first of two “Wednesday Night Specials,” as conference teams are rolling  back their schedule a day due to high school basketball tournament week.

McPherson College remains at home Wednesday to entertain Bethel College and the Bulldog teams are hoping to repeat their earlier road victories over the Threshers.

Coverage on 96.7 KBBE-FM, with Chris Swick on the play-by-play call, begins at 5:45 p.m. The women tip off at 6 p.m. and the men go at 8.

This is an important game for the Mac women. They have worked their way back into a tie for fifth place with Saint Mary and Ottawa at 5-6 in the conference, due in great part to their play at home. They are 6-2 at the Sport Center, but just 2-11 on the road. They currently have won their last five at home and with last-place Bethel coming to town, this is one the Bulldogs can’t afford to slip up on.

Mac is coming off a 65-59 victory over Southwestern to complete a rare season sweep of the Moundbuilders. Ashton Bruner had a big-time game with 15 points and 15 rebounds, while steady Bailey Brown added 14 points.

Bethel is only 2-9 in the KCAC, but a dangerous team. It has played a lot of close games and is led by one of the conference’s top guards in Lauren Ulrich, who is capable of scoring 25 on any given night.

The teams played a tight game the first time around, with the Bulldogs hanging on for a 68-58 victory. Brown led the Bulldogs with 22 points, while they held Ulrich to just 11.

In the men’s game, while there’s still a long way to go in conference play, the Bulldogs have to almost think of this as a playoff game. They are 2-9 in the KCAC and need to start stringing some wins together to make the playoffs. One of their two wins came against Bethel, 75-63. The Threshers, though, have been playing well recently, including a game where they took KCAC leader Tabor into overtime and also own wins over Saint Mary and Friends. In their last game, they dominated Oklahoma Wesleyan, 88-73.

Dee Roberts had a big game off the bench in the first meeting with the Threshers with 18 points, but the story of the game was the play of Reed Rowell, who had 13 points and 16 rebounds. Rebounding has been the team’s area of weakness as they have been getting beat by double digits on the boards during its recent skid.