McPherson College men’s basketball coach Tim Swartzendruber didn’t know if it was a case of bad offense or great defense in the first half of the Bulldogs’ game here Friday with Baker.

Mac led 25-24 at the half despite shooting just 25 percent. Baker was better at 36 percent, but its 12 turnovers limited its number of shot attempts.

But in the second half, the lid came off the basket for the Bulldogs, who blazed away for 70 percent and 52 points, as they pulled away for a 77-63 victory, their eighth straight to open the season.

The Bulldogs aren’t just winning, they’re winning against quality teams. Baker was 5-1, which included wins over KCAC members Ottawa, Friends and Kansas Wesleyan.

“They’re a very good team,” Swartzendruber said. “That was a quality win.”

Swartzendruber didn’t quite know what to make of the first half.

“I thought we rushed some shots,” Swartzendruber said. “I thought the difference in the second half was that we scored in the paint. They were bigger than we were, but we were able to finish shots in the second half.”

The Bulldogs played without standout guard Aaron Frazier, who missed the game due to being ejected on Tuesday against Central Christian College. But Kenny Berry ran the team with aplomb, committing just one turnover in 29 minutes and handling the ball down the stretch when the Bulldogs were protecting their lead.

“You love that out of your point guard,” Swartzendruber said. “Obviously he was under constant pressure all night from them. Even though he’s a freshman, he’s playing well.”

Chris Crawford and Samson Shivers scored 18 apiece to lead the Bulldogs. Crawford also led Mac to a 43-32 rebounding advantage  with seven, even though Baker had great length inside. Jordan Crawford furnished 15 points and seven rebounds, as the Bulldogs’ inside game took the game over in the second half.

Ben Steinlage and Todd Johnston scored 10 points apiece for Baker

The Bulldogs have little time to relish the win, as they turn around and play Haskell tonight at 6:00. Haskell has opened up some eyes with its recent play and was able to defeat Bethany in the second game of the day.

“They have won five in a row and you know they’re going to be excited to play us,” said Swartzendruber, whose team defeated the Indians in the second game of the year in Lawrence. “They want to get back at us and they’re playing with a lot of confidence. It should be a great game.”

Mac (77) -- C. Crawford 6 5-6 18; Berry 3 1-2 7; Shivers 4 9-9 18; Reinhardt 2 2-2 6; J. Crawford 5 5-8 15; Burner 2 3-6 7; Miller 1 0-2 2; Hewitt 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 25 25-35 77. 3-pointers -- C. Crawford 1, Shivers 1.
Baker (63) -- Honore 2 0-3 4; Ellis 1 0-1 2; Steinlage 4 2-3 10; Anderson 3 0-0 9; Shortell 3 2-2 8; Lysaught 2 3-4 7; Moore 1 0-1 3; Johnston 4 0-0 10 Diallo 0 2-2 2; Wachter 1 0-0-0 2; Douvier 2 0-0 4; Jasser 1 0-1 2. Totals -- 24 9-17 63. 3-pointers -- Anderson 3, Johnston 2, Moore 1.