OTTAWA – When the two surprise KCAC men’s basketball teams met on Monday, it produced, well, a surprise.
Ottawa, the No. 10 team in the country after a surprising 16-1 start and it entered the night 10-1 in the KCAC, could not defend its homecourt against the equally surprising McPherson College Bulldogs, who rallied from an early 13-2 deficit for a 91-88 victory to send shockwaves around the KCAC since the Braves had entered the night with a two-game lead.
“I am really proud of our guys,” said Mac coach TJ Eskildsen, whose team finished the first half of KCAC play at 8-4 and is 13-5 overall after its fifth straight win. “They really competed tonight. As a whole team we stepped up to the challenge against a really good Ottawa team. I hope that we can keep building on our recent success. We have a short turnaround and need to be ready to go against rival Bethany Wednesday."
After leading 45-44 at the half, the Bulldogs pushed it out to as many as 11 in the second half, but Ottawa stormed back and had a chance to tie on the final possession, but did not convert.
The Bulldogs had their usual balance as Lual Magot led the way with 19 points, Kemryn Jenkins came off the bench for 17 (including 5 3-pointers) and Travon Shelvin tallied 15.
The Bulldogs were flawless in their execution, committing just 5 turnovers while forcing 18.
Mac will try to avenge its loss to Bethany in the 8 p.m. game on Wednesday.
Mac (91) – Magot 19, Jenkins 17, Shelvin 15, Hightower 9, Watts 8, Rivers 8, Paige 6, Maccoy 5, Munsen 4.
Ottawa (88) – Baldeh 15, Haskins 12, Daniels 12, Patrick 10, Mallory 4, Bowie 26, McDow 5, Jackson 2, Johnson 2.
OTTAWA WOMEN 71, MAC 57 – A fourth-quarter collapse resulted in the Bulldogs’ third loss in a row as they are now 5-7 in the KCAC and 9-9 overall.
This was one they really needed since Ottawa was just 2-9 in the KCAC coming into the game. After trailing 33-28 at the half, the Bulldogs spurted with an 18-6 rip to lead 46-39 going into the fourth quarter.
But a myriad of turnovers led to a 32-point Ottawa outburst as the Bulldogs left the court feeling like they let one get away.
Brittany Roberts had a monster game with 27 points and 15 rebounds, but no other Bulldog scored more than 7 as the offense, for the third straight game, struggled as the Bulldogs have yet to score 60 points in 2020.
One-time McPherson High standout Kamryn Collins provided a spark off the bench for Ottawa with 12 points, second on the team to Madi McAvoy, who tallied 20.
Things don’t get any easier Wednesday when red-hot Bethany comes to town for a 6:00 matchup. The Swedes are a game back of KCAC co-leaders Kansas Wesleyan and Sterling.
Mac (57) – Roberts 27, Jarvis 7, Holt 4, Harlow 3, Osborn 3, Griffin 3, Ates 2, Moseley 2, Upchurch 2, Branscum 2, Hurst 2.
Ottawa (71) – McAvoy 20, Lewman 7, Hendricks 6, Grizzle 5, Vaughn 3, Hughes 12, Collins 12, Knight 4, Anthony 2.