The McPherson men and Southwestern both came into Thursday’s KCAC showdown at the McPherson Sport Center with something to prove.
For the Bulldogs, they had won two straight and were looking to make some waves down the final stretch of the season before KCAC postseason play begins.
The Moundbuilders, meanwhile, had lost four straight league contests dating back to before the second half of KCAC play began.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Bulldogs stood tall after an 80-64 thrashing of Southwestern.
“That’s a good win for us,” Mac College coach Tim Swartzendruber said. “I’m very happy, very pleased with our guys. They continued to work hard.”
Southwestern held the early advantage Thursday, jumping out to a 3-0 lead, with McPherson briefly gaining a 4-3 advantage thanks to Adam Bruner. Southwestern would turn around and sink a bucket to give them a 5-4 lead, but the Bulldogs would proceed to rip off an 22-4 run over the next four minutes that gave them a 22-7 lead with 8:20 left in the half.
McPherson’s run was spurred by five straight three pointers, including a pair each from Kasey Miller and D’onte Woods.
The Moundbuilders got back up from the Bulldog haymaker, though, and went on a 9-0 run over the last five minutes of the half to close the gap back to seven, with McPherson leading 30-23 at the half.
Mac College answered Southwestern to start the second with a quick 6-0 run, but the Moundbuilders refused to be denied, rattling off a 9-2 run that made it 40-34 at the 15:53 mark of the second half.
McPherson surged, briefly, but Southwestern’s Michael Morales dropped a jumper with 13:55 left on the clock to make it 45-44. Unfortunately for the Builders, that was as close as they would get the rest of the game, as McPherson broke out of their mid-period funk and went on a 12-2 run that sealed the Bulldog victory.
McPherson finished the game shooting 25-of-54 from the floor and 25-of-38 from the foul line. Interestingly, the Bulldogs didn’t score a single three-point bucket after the spurt in the first half where the hit five in a row, finishing the game shooting 5-of-12 from distance.
Southwestern was 23-of-62 from the field, 6-of-16 from deep, and shot 12-of-19 from the foul line.
The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 42-37, while turnovers were fairly even, with Southwestern coughing it up 14 times to McPherson’s 12.
Bruner led all scorers with 19 points, followed by Samson Shivers’ 18 and Joey Powers with 11. Devirous Johnson had 10 rebounds.
Swartzendruber was pleased with the production the Bulldogs received from the bench in the win, as they contributed 34 of McPherson’s points.
Page 2 of 2 - “The first half, D’onte Woods had a really good mix for us,” Swartzendruber said. “He knocked down a pair of threes that just really sparked us.”
Taylor Johnson led Southwestern with 18 points, followed by Cameron Clark with 13 and Tyler Shirley with 10.
McPherson (10-14, 5-9 KCAC) will face Saint Mary Saturday in Leavenworth. Tip off is slated for 5 p.m.
Southwestern (64) — Morales 2-6 0-1 4; Johnson 5-12 2-2 17; Tyler 2-7 5-8 9; Shirley 4-9 1-2 10; Tisdale 2-8 0-0 4; Giddings 0-2 2-2 2; Vasquez 0-1 1-2 1; Lipsey 1-1 0-0 2; Clark 6-15 1-1 13; Folston1-1 0-1 2.
McPherson (80) — Hewitt 3-9 0-0 6; Johnson 1-5 0-2 2; Lakin 0-3 2-2 2; Shivers 2-5 13-14 17; Bruner 5-11 9-17 19; Powers 5-6 0-0 11; Reinhardt 4-7 0-2 8; Woods 2-3 0-0 6; Miller 3-5 1-1 9.