Mac men put up good battle against Baker

By Steve Sell
November 26, 2017

The frozen number this time was 42.

During this agonizing six-game basketball losing streak, the McPherson College men have stayed competitive with their opponents until they reach a certain number.

On Saturday against undefeated Baker at the Sport Center, the Bulldogs were tied with the Wildcats at 42-all early in the second half, but Baker then went on a 31-10 rip before Mac showed a lot of grit to pull within 82-73 by game’s end.

The Bulldogs were stuck on 42 for 6:40 as the Wildcats scored 12 straight points before Justin Wiltfong buried a 3-pointer to end the drought.

The Bulldogs are now 1-7 as they took a break from KCAC play for an afternoon matinee. They played exceptionally well for the first 22 minutes, but then went ice cold as they had to rely almost exclusively on perimeter shooting, which produced a 56-percent mark in the first half.

“I felt like we played better,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team slipped to 1-7. “I think the biggest thing, honestly today, was that we finally made some perimeter shots. It was good to see Aaron Bachura make some perimeter shots. Baker is a good team. They’re undefeated and we knew that coming in that we would have to play really well. They’re a very good shooting team and they showed that today.”

Bachura, one of the KCAC’s top marksmen but battling a slump, broke out with 23 points, including 9 of 17 from the field, 5 of 11 from beyond the arc. Perimeter players Garrett Owen and Grant Raleigh scored 13 apiece.

But inside player Grant Munsen, Fred Watts and Brandon Carter all battled foul trouble. Baker took advantage to make 26 of 35 free throws to just 11 of 16 for the Bulldogs, who amazingly had 8 fouls in the second half before it was 2 minutes old and were whistled 29 times for the 40 minutes.

“Certainly the free throws were frustrating,” Swartzendruber said. “We put them on the line way too much. We showed fight today, which was good to see. I felt like we took a step forward.”

Tyree Peter led Baker, now 5-0, with 17 points, one more than Clae Martin, who came off the bench to make 6 of 7 shots and scored 16 points.

Mac takes an 0-3 KCAC record into a Wednesday home game against undefeated Southwestern. Former Central Christian College coach Matt O’Brien has the Moundbuilders off to a 9-0 start, 3-0 in the KCAC to share the lead with Friends.

Mac (73) — Munsen 7, Watts 2, Owen 13, Raleigh 13, Bachura 23, Parker III 5, Wiltfong 5, Carter 3, Krsmanovic 2.

Baker (82) — Peter 17, Young 9, Mick 15, Edwards 11, Guscott 6, Martin 16, Izquierdo 2, Elifritz 6.