Jake Reinhardt gave McPherson College’s Bulldogs a second chance and they went on to make the most of it.
Reinhardt’s putback with 0:04 seconds left in regulation enabled the Bulldogs to tie Haskell, and Mac then outscored the Indians 11-6 in overtime for a pulsating 78-73 victory Saturday night in the concluding game of the McPherson Classic.
The victory increased the Bulldogs’ season-opening winning streak to nine, as they are living up to their No. 11 preseason national ranking.
But the streak appeared to be in jeopardy early, as the Indians came out white-hot in the first half to construct an 18-point lead at one instance, before Mac doggedly worked its way back into it.
“I thought we finally stepped up our defense,” said Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber, whose team was down 28-10 just over 10 minutes into the game. “We took away some of the things they wanted to do. We made it more difficult for them to score. In the first half, we allowed their shooters to be wide open.”
However, Aaron Frazier scored 13 points in the final six minutes, as the Bulldogs gave themselves a glimmer of hope by pulling within 40-32.
Haskell made 9 of 16 from 3-point in the half, while the Bulldogs did not make a single trey.
Adam Bruner’s basket with 11:06 left finally drew the Bulldogs even at 54-all, and from there it was anybody’s game. The Bulldogs were up one, 65-64, when Brady Fairbanks banked in a 3-pointer for a 67-65 Haskell lead. In the closing moments, Mac went for the win, but Samson Shivers’ 3-pointer was off, but Reinhardt was there for the rebound and spun in a shot to tie it.
“Jake has really been playing well for us and he’s been battling a high ankle sprain,” Swartzendruber said. “He’s still not 100 percent, but he played a lot of minutes for us tonight and gave us great minutes.”
Riding the wave of momentum, Samson Shivers shook off his regulation-game struggles to score seven points, as the Bulldogs never trailed.
“His mentality is he’s going to keep shooting,” Swartzendruber said. “That 3 he hit (to start overtime) was huge. He had good shots tonight, he just wasn’t hitting them.”
Frazier finished with 18 points for the Bulldogs, while Jordan Crawford scored 16, Shivers had 14 and Kenny Berry added 10. Chris Crawford had nine points, eight rebounds and drew two key charges in overtime.
Fairbanks, a wonderful offensive player, led Haskell with 27 points before fouling out. The Indians had knocked off five straight KCAC teams and this probably was the best team they’d ever brought into the Sport Center.
Mac gets a little time off after a 3-0 week, as it travels Friday to Hastings, Neb., for a two-game classic. It plays Doane at 6:00 on Friday and then has the big rematch with Hastings at 4:00 on Saturday. Conference play then starts on Dec. 1, as Mac plays at Bethel.
Mac (78) -- C. Crawford 3 2-4 9; Berry 3 2-2 10; Shivers 4 5-6 14; Reinhardt 2 2-2 6; J. Crawford 6 4-6 16; Frazier 5 8-11 18; Bruner 2 0-1 4; Hewitt 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 25 24-34 878. 3-pointers -- Berry 2, C. Crawford 1, Shivers 1.
Haskell (73) -- Fairbanks 9 4-4 27; Osborne 3 0-2 7; Thompson 1 0-0 2; Garrick 3 4-6 10; Whiteshield 1 0-0 2; Trujillo 4 1-1 12; Lee 3 0-0 7; Eastman 2 0-0 6. Totals -- 26 9-13 73. 3-pointers -- Fairbanks 5, Trujillo 3, Eastman 2, Osborne 1, Lee 1.