At this stage of the game, it’s not about style points.
McPherson College’s men weren’t at their best here Wednesday night in their KCAC Postseason Tournament first-round game against Southwestern, but they put together enough good stretches to outweigh the bad for an 83-68 victory.
The Bulldogs will again be home Saturday afternoon to take on intra-county rival Bethany College at 2 p.m. The winner advances to the KCAC championship game at 6 p.m. Monday at Wichita’s Hartman Arena.
The Bulldogs managed to overcome a miserable 25-of-42 effort from the foul line and 22 fouls of their own to survive and advance.
“A few of the guys had their heads down, but I said, ‘hey guys, we’re happy to be moving on,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team is now 18-12 overall after winning for the 10th time in its last 11 games. “We didn’t play our best game tonight, but we still have an opportunity to play Saturday.”
Little separated the teams in the first half, as the Bulldogs took a 36-33 lead into the intermission break. But Mac started the second half strong behind Samson Shivers, who had 11 points in the first seven minutes, and the lead reached double digits with 10 minutes left.
The Bulldogs missed nine free throws in the second half, but did nail their final six.
“We’ve been a great free throw shooting team down the stretch,” Swartzendruber said. “We’ve got good shooters. It was one of those nights, for whatever reason, we weren’t making them.”
Shivers scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, while Aaron Frazier had 21, along with eight rebounds. Jordan Crawford added 10 points and seven rebounds, while Adam Bruner made some big plays off the bench and scored seven points.
Ethan Randolph and Chris Nelson scored 12 apiece for the Moundbuilders, who finished the year 16-12. Southwestern also struggled at the line, making just12 of 27.
Swartzendruber gave a big tip of the cap to the Bulldogs’ student section.
“Our students have been great and we had a great crowd tonight,” he said, adding that he’s hoping for a packed house Saturday afternoon.
Mac (83) -- Jackson 0 1-2 1; Frazier 6 8-12 21; Miller 1 0-0 2; Severs 1 2-4 5; Shivers 5 10-12 22; Reinhardt 1 1-2 3; J. Crawford 5 0-2 10; Bruner 2 2-2 7; C. Crawford 4 0-3 9; Hewitt 1 1-3 3. Totals -- 26 25-42 83. 3-pointers -- Shivers 2, Frazier 1, Severs 1, Bruner 1, C. Crawford 1.
Southwestern (68) -- Davis 2 3-10 8; Morrow 3 2-2 11; Shirley 1 0-0 2; Randolph 4 3-7 12; Nelson 6 0-0 12; Thurau 2 1-2 6; Irvin 2 3-4 8; King 4 0-0 9. Totals -- 24 12-27 68. 3-pointers -- Morrow 3, Davis 1, Randolph 1, Thurau 1, King 1, Irvin 1.