On several occasions Tuesday night, Central Christian College thought they had put away McPherson College to claim victory in a cross-town battle, but the Bulldogs wouldn’t stay down, fighting until the final buzzer sounded. The Tigers (5-0) jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead to start the game, but McPherson (3-2) guard Devirous Johnson came off the bench about halfway through the first period and sparked a Bulldog comeback, pulling McPherson to within four. The McPherson defense would then hold Central scoreless for five straight minutes, allowing the Bulldogs to close the gap even more and tie the game up at 30-30 with just 1:30 left in the half, but Central would respond with four straight points and go into the locker room with a 34-30 lead. Central would come out of the gates in the second half with a fire in their eyes, as they quickly opened up a 9-0 run on McPherson, with big senior forward Chris Jones taking control of the game. The Bulldogs, again, refused to quit, and fought their way back to within five points with 5:30 left in the game. Central would respond by ripping off a 10-2 run, seemingly putting the game away on a Kaelon Gary dagger from the right corner, but once more the Bulldogs fought back, with guard Samson Shivers scoring half of his 16 total points in the last two minutes of the game. Time wasn’t on the side of McPherson, however, as they couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 86-81. Central head coach Tony Romero had his defense focused on keeping Shivers, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, quiet. “I knew if we stopped Shivers, then we’d have a great shot at winning the game,” Romero said. Shivers finished with 16 points, but at the half had only managed four points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. Darius Hills led all scorers with 21, picking up a double-double along the way with 12 rebounds. Mason Hewitt came off the McPherson bench and added 12 points and eight rebounds. For Central, Gary had 20 points, while forward Aaron Cannon chipped in 13 and Chris Jones added 15. Romero said his four seniors, Gary, Cannon, Jones and Jeff Jackson, were instrumental in helping the Tigers pull out the victory. “I know they wanted this one very bad,” Romero said. “I’ve got to give credit to those seniors for finishing this game. Up next for McPherson will be the Baker Classic on Friday and Saturday, as they will take on Haskell Indian Nations University at 5:30 p.m. Friday and host Baker University at 3 p.m. Saturday. Central is on the road Wednesday night as they face off with Emporia State University. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. McPherson — Reinhardt 1 2-3 4; HIll 10 1-2 21; Lee 3 1-2 8; Shivers 5 4-5 16; Miller 2 3-4 8; Johnson, Brian 2 0-0 4; Johnson, Devirous 4 0-0 8; Hewitt 6 0-0 12. Central — Cannon 4 4-4 13; Jones 6 3-11 15; Miller 1 4-5 7; Gary 7 1-5 20; Brooks, Scott 2 0-0 6; Quant 1 2-2 6; Brooks, Troy 2 0-0 9; Rojas 2 1-1 5; Jackson 2 2-3 6.