Friends University’s superstar guard Joe Mitchell is simply too good to be playing at the KCAC level.
The mercurial Mitchell, who had two stops at NCAA Division I schools before eventually coming back to his hometown of Wichita to play for the Falcons, had his full arsenal on display here Saturday as his 29 points led the KCAC co-leaders to a 94-76 victory over faltering McPherson College, which limps into the Christmas break with five losses in its last six games and with a 1-3 KCAC record that puts it three games behind Friends and Bethany.
Mitchell, a man among boys, was simply dazzling as he weaved his way to 12 of 16 from the field and also had five assists and four steals.
“Joe Mitchell is just a level above everybody,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 7-7 overall. “In our conference, there’s nobody else even close to him. He’s a (NCAA) Division I player.”
Mitchell wasn’t the only story. Versatile Colton Rausch scored 19 points and made four 3-pointers, part of the Falcons’ 15-of-31 barrage from beyond the arc, while the Bulldogs were a paltry 4 of 21 as the 3-ball continues to plague them this season.
Zach Nelson (13), Brett Williams (12) and Brandon Johnson (10) also were in double figures. Friends overall was 35 of 62 from the floor for nearly 57 percent.
“I really didn’t think they’d shoot as well in the second half, but give them credit,” Swartzendruber said. “They just knocked down shots.”
As has been the case practically all season, the bulk of the Bulldogs’ scoring came from four players — Joey Powers (19), Devirous Johnson (16, along with a man-sized 16 rebounds), Brian Johnson (16) and Samson Shivers (11).
“We’re not getting anything off the bench,” Swartzendruber said. “We’ve got four guys scoring and they’re doing a good job. We need to find some other guys who can score.”
Friends blazed to a 51-34 halftime lead, but a spirited start to the second half gave Mac hope as it pulled within 58-52 with an eternity left to play. The Falcons, though, loaded it up again from 3-point and made four in the next five minutes to re-establish convincing superiority.
Mac has some time to regroup as it doesn’t play again until Jan. 3-4 when it hosts the Bulldog Classic.
Mac (76) — Powers 19, D. Johnson 16, B. Johnson 16, Shivers 11, Lakin 3, Henson 4, Bevan 4, Berry 3.
Friends (94) — Mitchell 29, Rausch 19, Nelson 13, Williams 12, Johnson 10, Wilson 9, Anderson 2.
• KCAC STANDINGS •
1. Friends, 4-0
1. Bethany, 4-0
3. Sterling, 3-1
3. Saint Mary, 3-1
5. Tabor, 2-2
5. Ottawa, 2-2
7. McPherson College, 1-3
7. Southwestern, 1-3
9. Bethel, 0-4
9. Kansas Wesleyan, 0-4