It’s too bad McPherson College’s Bulldogs and Hastings College do not have one more game scheduled so they can come to a definite conclusion.
When the teams met earlier this season at the Sport Center, the Bulldogs won a classic back-and-forth contest, 87-82.
But that paled in comparison to the rip-roaring rematch Saturday on the Broncos’ home court.
In an amazing offensive shootout, Charles Ferguson’s 3-pointer with six seconds left in overtime gave the Broncos a 106-105 lead and then they have to survive Aaron Frazier’s potential game-winning 12-footer to earn a split of the series.
The loss was the Bulldogs’ first of the year after 10 victories.
“Certainly it was disappointing to lose to Hastings,” Mac coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “We had numerous opportunities to put Hastings away and just didn’t do it. But give them credit. They were unbelievable at the free throw line and from 3-point.”
There was little separation between the teams throughout. The Bulldogs shot a blazing 19 of 29 from the field in the first half, yet exited for the locker room ahead by just two, 52-50.
Mac hung on to that lead much of the second half, but Hastings came back and eventually went up 92-89 late before Frazier was able to get the game into overtime with a 3-pointer near the end of regulation.
The Bulldogs again led much of the overtime. But missed Mac free throws and made Hastings free throws allowed the Broncos to stay right there before Ferguson delivered his game-winner.
There were numerous tremendous performances. Mac’s Chris Crawford scored 27 points (he had just two at the half) and pulled down seven rebounds, while Frazier scored 22, had six rebounds and six assists.
Kenny Berry and Samson Shivers delivered 17 points apiece and Adam Bruner came off the bench for 10. Mac finished the game shooting 56 percent from the floor, but was just 24 of 34 from the line.
For Hastings, Tobin Reinward was unstoppable, pouring in 39 points, making 12 of 15 from the field and 8 of 8 at the line. Brady Lollman added 17 points, Jake Marvin tallied 15, and Zach Lenagh, Dane Bacon and Dylan Flinn all had 10.
The Broncos were an amazing 32 of 35 at the foul line and 12 of 25 from 3-point, probably the two differences in the game. Mac did shoot it well from 3-point as well, sinking 9 of 20.
Swartzendruber believes the two games this past weekend will benefit the Bulldogs greatly for the start of the KCAC season. Mac opens conference play with a road test Thursday at Bethel.
“I told the guys before we left it was ‘tune-up weekend,’ meaning this was to help us prepare for conference,” Swartzendruber said. “I thought our defensive effort against Doane (on Friday) was the best we have had all year. We shot great against Hastings, but just couldn’t get the stops when we needed them.”
Swartzendruber also was able to scout Tabor, expected to be a top KCAC contender, since the Bluejays also were in Hastings.
“They are extremely talented,” Swartzendruber said of the Bluejays. “It looks like Southwestern and University of Saint Mary have had great non-conference success. I know Bethany and Sterling will get things together once conference starts. I look for each night to be a great challenge, but we are excited about it and looking forward to it.”
Mac (105) -- C. Crawford 27, J. Crawford 3, Frazier 22, Berry 17, Shivers 17, Bruner 10, Miller 3, Hewitt 6.
Hastings (106) -- Marvin 15, Lenagh 10, Lollman 17, Reinward 39, Ferguson 5, Bacon 10, Flinn 10.
Mac (68) -- C. Crawford 11, J. Crawford 16, Frazier 13, Berry 10, Shivers 13, Powers 2, Miller 3.
Doane (58) -- Reed 19, Scholl 8, Riser 8, Meyer 11, Headley 5, Shoecraft 5, Heath 2.