Grant powers Bulldogs to second straight win

By Steve Sell
February 01, 2015

SALINA — “Revenge Week” is now complete.

McPherson College men’s basketball coach Tim Swartzendruber knew his team needed to sweep both games this week against teams it had lost to earlier in the season.

And it did.

Mac followed up Wednesday’s win over Bethel by sliding past Kansas Wesleyan 65-61 Saturday night at Mabee Arena.

Mac is now 4-8 in the KCAC and in eighth place, two games clear of 2-10 Bethel and KW. The Bulldogs are just a game back of Ottawa and Sterling, both 5-7. The top eight teams advance to postseason play and the Bulldogs have proven they can play with every team in the conference.

This one wasn’t easy as the Bulldogs could never shake the pesky Coyotes, who know their playoff hopes are dimming with three weeks left to play.

TJ Grant came through in the clutch, scoring 23 points and making 8 of 9 free throws while directing a Mac offense that turned the ball over only seven times.

Darius Hill had another big game with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He had 30 and 13 on Wednesday, so he could be in line for KCAC Player of the Week.

Dominque Johnson led KW with 23 points.

“It was nice to win a close game," said Swartzendruber, whose team has lost four KCAC games in the final two minutes. "We had some big stops defensively and we hit some pressure free throws. This group continues to improve."

The Bulldogs, 8-16 overall, have a difficult week coming up, playing Thursday at Tabor and hosting Sterling on Saturday.

Mac (65) — Grant 23, Hill 18, Henson 8, Crook 3, Lakin 6, Parker 6, Martinez 1.

KW (61) — D. Johnson 23, Lunz 8, M. Johnson 7, Hidalgo 5, Long 3, Criswell 9, Moss 5, Roth 1.

• KANSAS WESLEYAN WOMEN 77, MAC 58 — The Coyotes found themselves tied for first place in the KCAC when the smoke cleared Saturday.

KW now shares the top spot with Tabor and Friends at 9-3.

The Bulldogs had terrible turnover problems in the first half and found themselves down 38-19. They cleaned things up in the second half and were outscored by only three.

Mac is now 3-9 in the KCAC and tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with Saint Mary, which it still has to host later this month. The Bulldogs are 4-20 overall as they had their two-game winning streak snapped.

Bailey Brown, as usual, was dynamite for Mac with 21 points. The Smarts, Georgia and Sunny, added 11 apiece. Vanessa Kresin scored 17 to lead KW.

Mac plays Thursday at Tabor.

Mac (58) — Brown 21, S. Smart 11, G. Smart 11, Abra 6, Jefferson 5, Atkins 3, Acklin 1.

KW (77) — Kresin 17, Steinle 9, Farris 9, Patton 6, Wilson 2, Hula 10, LeShore 7, Kirchoff 6, Pfeifer 5, Heim 4, Bergstrom 2.