WINFIELD — Knocking off defending KCAC champion Tabor last Saturday figured to lead to an emotional letdown on Wednesday when the McPherson College men made the long road trip to No. 6 Southwestern, which entered the night 20-2.
But the Bulldogs came oh so close to pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the entire country.
The Bulldogs took the Moundbuilders into triple-overtime before losing 115-109 as they are becoming the team nobody wants to play despite their now 2-13 KCAC record and 5-18 record overall.
“We played our hearts out," said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, who’s been playing with a short-handed team as some younger players have stepped into key roles when they were expected to be reserves. "Southwestern is a tremendous team. We showed great teamwork tonight and trusted each other. Certainly, it was disappointing to not come away with the win, but we are playing better and that's exciting."
Mac was down three at the half after trailing by 13 at one point. The Bulldogs made a late charge and an Aaron Bachura 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in regulation forced overtime at 76-all.
The Bulldogs rode that wave to take an 80-76 lead, but Southwestern stormed back and took a 4-point lead of its own. But it took a pair of Garrett Owen free throws for Mac to tie the game at 88 and force the second OT.
Fred Watts’ basket late in the second OT for Mac forced yet another overtime and finally the Bulldogs ran out of gas.
There were some amazing numbers for the Bulldogs.
Guards Owen and Bachura scored 28 points apiece, with Bachura playing 50 minutes. Watts scored 14, Grant Munsen and Jeffrey Oxford tallied 12 apiece and Louis Parker III had 10 as six Bulldogs scored in double figures. Munsen also had a career-best 18 rebounds as he was able to stay out of foul trouble.
LaJuan Hardy, who didn’t play in the first meeting between the teams, came off the bench to score 35 to lead Southwestern and All-American Cameron Hunt added 18. DJ Wallace furnished 17.
Mac is back home Saturday to take on Sterling.
Mac (109) — Bachura 28, Owen 28, Watts 14, Munsen 12, Oxford 12, Parker III 10, Magot 5.
Southwestern (115) — Hunt 28, Horsch 18, Wallace 17, Smith 6, Hardy 35, Hamm 7, Mills 2, Baker 2.
• SOUTHWESTERN WOMEN 78, MAC 55 — This was the Bulldogs’ biggest clunker of the year.
They had dominated Southwestern in the first meeting at the Sport Center and the Builders were just 4-18 entering the night.
But Mac was never in it, down 15 at the half and it only got worse in the second half as the Bulldogs derailed all the momentum they had built by upsetting No. 16 Tabor on Saturday.
Mac was just 21 of 68 from the field and 7 of 20 from the line.
Sonerka White came off the bench to score 17 to lead the Bulldogs, while Brittany Roberts had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
KCAC Player of the Year candidate Jordyn Miller led Southwestern with 28 points and 13 rebounds.
Mac hosts Sterling on Saturday.
Mac (55) — Roberts 12, Richardson 3, VanDonselaar 2, White 17, Zimmerman 8, Battle 7, Olvera 6.
Southwestern (78) — Miller 28, Henderson 19, Walck 8, Evans 5, Krusko 5, Rogers 6, Eule 5, McCormick 2.