WICHITA — It’s turning into a horseshoes and hand grenades kind of basketball season for McPherson College’s men.
It was another close, near-miss for the Bulldogs on Saturday, as they let a six-point lead with under 3 minutes left to play evaporate in a 68-66 loss to Friends, which now finds itself tied for the KCAC lead with Tabor.
The Bulldogs have to be kicking themselves as they are now 2-6 in the KCAC, with this two-point loss, a last-second one-pointer to Sterling after leading the entire game, and losses to Kansas Wesleyan and Bethel back in December which at the time looked like giveaways.
Mac led 60-54 after a TJ Grant free throw with 2:46 to go, but the Bulldogs’ defense then went south.
The Bulldogs allowed Brandon Johnson to shake loose for three straight 3-pointers while they were unable to score at the other end.
However, the game was tied with 7 seconds to go when Friends’ Chris Singhateh was fouled and he made both free throws. Grant had a look at the game-winner and rebounded his own miss, but his second attempt also failed.
Darius Hill led Mac with 17 points, while Grant scored 12, Chris Crook added 11 and DeAndre Henson tallied 10. A telling stat was the Bulldogs taking a-way-too-many 28 3-pointers, making only eight.
Toby Baxter led Friends with 21 points and Johnson scored 15. Singhateh added 11 and Brett Williams 10. Mac held the Falcons to just five 3-pointers until Johnson had his late run.
The Bulldogs are now 6-14 overall and have no easy task on Wednesday when they travel to Saint Mary.
Mac (66) — Hill 17, Grant 12, Crook 11, Henson 10, Jolly 7, Bachura 5, Martinez 2, Berry 2.
Friends (68) — Baxter 21, Johnson 15, Williams 10, Scott 4, Anderson 2, Singhateh 11, Sponsel 3, Rowe 2.
• FRIENDS WOMEN 96, MAC 61 — The Falcons, ranked No. 15 in the country, blew out to a 54-28 halftime lead and buried the Bulldogs under an avalanche of points.
As usual, Bailey Brown was stupendous for the Bulldogs with 22 points, including 13 of 16 at the line. Sunny Smart added 16 points.
The Bulldogs turned it over a staggering 27 times against the Falcons’ suffocating defense.
Emily Barto led Friends with 19.
Mac is now 1-7 in the KCAC and 2-18 overall. It wraps up the first go-around of the KCAC schedule on Wednesday at Saint Mary, which is just a game ahead of the Bulldogs for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Mac (61) — Brown 22, S. Smart 16, Atkins 9, Jefferson 3, Abra 5, G. Smart 3, Acklin 2, James 1.
Friends (96) – Barto 19, Justice 14, Mollere 11, Sanders 3, Ptacek 3, Boyd 14, Rose 10, Torres 8, Harris 5, Quiroz 3, Atherton 2, Hines 2, Burnham 2